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PETER 0^ r;i:^ ORKUM 



A To<\ \'JFAV 

! > N 1 ? R \ N iv i , i N , the " devil' s printer' ' ; 
S i A dams, the embezzler of Boston's 
4l "; lick /Monies'"; John "Hancock., a 
**-i\ > ' 'ILaiiin Rasa"- these are indeed 
m, ic traditional "portraits'" Ameri- 
ca ! *istory has drawn for us of 
the : unding fathers. Thev are the 
cur >t ; ' i '"ed impressions c^f & ciefeated 
and ' : : 'M lorv leader, Peter Oliver, 
\\ !io ic^anprehendingly lost the 

sanit* : i M^orid that had av^'-irded his 
abilii'" * "~ vealth and influence. Nor 
do -: ::>Iv recognize his versions 
of sue? i ' i.eius of patriot indigna- 
"ion -i ; a* ;Uton /Massacre and the 
^ratiip ' : '.. -ts, and of such expres- 
-;u--ns o- .it - >t glory as the Boston 
Icr Part 1 , , - erctofore unpublished, 
C '> i^er\s ( > t /: c> Progress of the 

describes in con- 
s' lie e ve n ts, s tri v- 
ing"s and j: ,. - i i ns of Alassachusetts 
poliiics in the - 'So^s and earlv lyyo's 
that Ld to reL ,"oii. \\*ar, and the crea- 
tion, of a ne\v nition. 

Oliver was a iistinguishcd member 
of the ruling aristocracy in Massachu- 
setts for thirty years and chief justice 
of the Superior Court when British 
power collapsed in 1775. Educated, 
1 on hack ftap ) 

1148 00224 6858 

973-31 048o 61-25762 


Origin & progress of the 

American rebellion 



:: ^'-^ ::;: r 

all book^ 


checked out o^ 




Courtesy of Andrew Oliver, New York. 










The publication of this volume has been aided by a grant 
from the Ford Foundation 

Designed by Ward Ritchie 
and printed by Anderson, Ritchie & Simon 













INDEX 1 69 


"WHO SHALL WRITE the history of the American revolution? Who 
can write it? Who will ever be able to write it?" 1 These questions 
put by John Adams to Thomas Jefferson in July 1815, thirty-nine 
years after the Declaration of Independence, still have not been 
finally answered, one hundred and forty-five years after Adams 
asked them. It is easy, of course, to set down today the names of 
dozens of scholars and hundreds of books that have attempted to tell 
the story of the American Revolution, but if we examine them, we 
must still admit we have as yet no final answer to Adams' questions. 
In 1958 Edmund S. Morgan, one of the ablest students of the revo- 
lutionary era, repeated the Adams' query, noting especially the wide 
disagreements among scholars about the causes of the revolution. 2 

One difficulty in writing a balanced history of the American 
Revolution arises in part from its success as a creator of our nation 
and our nationalistic sentiment. The revolution is a historic event 
that all Americans applaud today as both necessary and desirable. 
Unlike our Civil War, unlike the French Revolution, the American 
Revolution produced no lingering social trauma in the United States. 
No Age of Hate or counterrevolution followed. No substantial 
body of American citizens nursed grievances about its consequences; 
both contemporaries and posterity have generally agreed that our 
revolution had its happy ending in the 1 780*5. Even the nineteenth- 
and twentieth-century British historians were predisposed by their 
Whiggish assumptions to agree with the judgment. 

One of the results, however, of this happy unanimity on the de- 
sirable consequences of the civil war and revolution that began in 
1775 is that the chief losers the American Loyalists have fared 
badly at the hands of historians. It was nearly a hundred years after 
the revolution before the extremely heterodox opinion was advanced 

ijohn Adams to Thomas Jefferson and Thomas McKean, July 30, 1815, The Adams- 
Jefferson Letters, ed. Lester J. Cappon (Chapel Hill, N.C., 1959), II, 451. 

2 Edmund S. Morgan, The American Revolution: A Review of Changing Interpreta- 
tions (Washington, D.C., 1958). Morgan's concluding sentence (p. 18) is: "We must 
continue to ask, for we still do not fully know, what the Revolution was!' 

by Lorenzo Sablne that the Loyalists were not all devils. It has only 
been In the last fifty years that a scattering of monographs and biog- 
raphies has attempted to do justice to their position. But even today 
the Loyalists have not found their historian, and in most textbooks 
and scholarly accounts of our War of Independence, the Tories still 
receive only grudging understanding. Paradoxically, while it has 
been possible for American scholars to accept the arguments of 
Beer, Andrews, and Gipson that Great Britain's policies toward the 
unruly colonies in the 1 760*5 are both understandable and defensible, 
it has been difficult for many of those same scholars to accept as 
reasonable the position of those Anglo-Americans of 1775 who paid 
the price for their loyalty in exile and expropriation. 3 

Above all, the course of American history during the last hun- 
dred and seventy-five years has made the Loyalist spokesmen of 
1775 appear to be undependable and untrustworthy historical wit- 
nesses. Even granting disinterested motives for their loyalty to the 
British Empire, does not their blindness to the glorious possibilities 
of independence, now documented by all American history since 
1776, prove that they were incapable of judging accurately the sig- 
nificance of the events taking place before their eyes? Contrariwise, 
does not the same history prove that the patriots of 1776, who were 
such remarkable prophets about the destiny of an independent 
America, are also the more to be trusted about the nature of the 
struggle to achieve independence than the Tories who lost? 

These are dubious assumptions, but they have controlled to a large 
extent the use that American historians have made of contemporary 
Tory interpretations of the American rebellion. The pamphlets and 
letters of an Adams, a Jefferson, and a Dickinson explaining and 
justifying the revolution from the patriot position, have been printed 
and reprinted, while Tory interpretations have been used most 
gingerly and almost with apologies because they are so "distorted" 
and "partisan!' Thomas Hutchinson's History of . . . Massachusetts- 
Bay and Samuel Seabury's Letters of a Westchester Farmer are 
almost alone among the reprints of Tory literature. The complete 
works of Jonathan Boucher, Daniel Leonard, and Joseph Galloway 

3 George L. Beer, The Origins of the British Colonial System, 1578-1660 (New 
York, 1908) and British Colonial Policy, 1754-1765 (New York, 1933); Charles M. 
Andrews, The Colonial Period of American History, 4 vols. (New Haven, 1934-38) ; 
Lawrence H. Gipson, The British Empire before the American Revolution, 10 vols. 
(Caldwell, Ida., and New York, 1936) . 

have not been republished since the eighteenth century. 4 In a recent 
history of American political thought Galloway's works were not 
even cited. 5 These Tory writers, though important, temper their 
language, take long views of revolution, and argue their views from 
principles rejected by the majority of Americans. It is understand- 
able, therefore, that an account of rebellion that offends patriot sensi- 
bilities as Peter Oliver's doesby attacking the hallowed traditions 
of the revolution, challenging the motives of the founding fathers, 
and depicting revolution as passion, plotting, and violence would 
receive rough treatment from patriot writers and thus would not 
be published. 

Dated 1781 (the year of Yorktown) , Oliver's manuscript is signifi- 
cantly entitled "The Origin & Progress of the American Rebellion" 
as if to emphasize the ugly, unnatural, and unjustified nature of the 
movement that drove him into exile and made America independent 
of Britain. Moreover, there is no hestitation in Oliver's judgment 
of the causes of the rebellion and the methods used by the leading 
rebels to achieve their ends. In his eyes the revolt in Massachusetts 
was caused by the selfish and ignoble ambition and avarice of a rela- 
tively few demagogues, who by a completely unscrupulous linking 
of propaganda of the word and propaganda of the deed tricked the 
foolish but basically contented populace of Massachusetts into un- 
filial rebellion against the mother country. 6 

Any reader of Oliver's account of Massachusetts' revolutionary 
politics will recognize that Oliver had suffered a traumatic experi- 
ence. His descriptions of the leaders of the patriot party, of their 
program and motives, is unforgiving and bitter. And inevitably it 
is partisan. But it records the impressions of one who had experienced 
these events, knew most of the combatants intimately, and saw the 
collapse of the society he had lived in. His views of the rebels were 

4 Hutchinson, The History of the Colony and Province of Massachusetts-Bay, ed. 
Lawrence Shaw Mayo, 3 vols. (Cambridge, Mass., 1936) ; Seabury, Letters of a West- 
Chester Farmer ( 1774-1775), e d. Clarence H. Vance, Publications of the Westchester 
County Historical Society, Vol. VIII (White Plains, N.Y., 1930) ; Boucher, A View 
of the Causes and Consequences of the American Revolution (London, 1797) ; Leonard, 
Massachusettensis (London, 1776); [Galloway], Historical and Political Reflections 
on the Rise and Progress of the American Rebellion (London, 1780) . 

5 Alan Pendleton Grimes, American Political Thought (New York, 1960). 

6 The reader will find the bitterness joined with an irony that at first seems odd. 
The jokes, puns, and facetiousness on a theme that was obviously tragic to Oliver 
personally can perhaps be explained by his belief that "the Weapons of Reason" were 
to be used against reasonable opponents, but that "a red hot Zealot, without under- 
standing, is to be attacked w ; *h Ridicule!' 


those of a contemporary, who judged them as associates and op- 
ponents. Unlike present historians, he observed them without the 
filter of time and had the advantage of historical evidence that is not 
available to scholars. We shall never know how much evidence was 
purposely destroyed by the patriots; all we know is that quantities 
were burned. For historians, therefore, to judge Oliver by patriot 
evidence is plainly unfair, though many have tried and then have 
used Oliver's evaluations in their narratives. If Oliver seems fair 
when patriot evidence supports his conclusions, why are many of 
his other unsupported statements branded as prejudiced? But should 
this matter of distortion be the primary consideration of historians 
in using Oliver's works? Does not the chief value lie in the impres- 
sions that Oliver has of the revolution, the explanations of its char- 
acter, and the judgment of its origins? Oliver witnessed a revolution 
that shocked him as much as it did Adams and Jefferson. Has he any- 
thing to offer as an explanation of its origins from his vantage point 
as one of the half-dozen leaders of the administration in Massa- 
chusetts? A sketch of Peter Oliver's life up to 1781 explains why 
his history is a very important contemporary account of the origins 
of the revolution in Massachusetts in spite of its overpowering ex- 
pression of emotion. 

Oliver was deeply committed to the old regime replaced by the 
rebellion. For a quarter of a century he had been a judge in the 
Massachusetts courts, rising finally to be chief justice of the Superior 
Court. He owned extensive property at Middleborough that rivaled 
any in New England, with a great house on a hill, a library occupy- 
ing one wing, gardens, orchards, and grain fields spreading from it, 
and an iron foundry that made him master of an eighteenth-century 
industrial complex. 

Oliver was closely related to the noble families of New England, 
the Belchers, Bradstreets, Stoddards, Vaughans, and Partridges. 
Daniel Oliver, the father of Peter, had married Elizabeth, sister of 
Governor Jonathan Belcher. Their two sons, Andrew and Peter, 
succeeded to the family wealth at their deaths and tripled it by the 
time of the revolution. In 1728 Andrew, a graduate of Harvard 
College like his brother, went into business with their father and 
four years later married Mary Sanf ord. 7 Besides bringing him wealth 

7 Andrew Oliver's marriage to Mary Sanford was his second. He was married to 
Mary, daughter of Thomas Fitch, in 1728, and had three children by the time of her 

as the daughter of a rich Rhode Island merchant, Mary was the 
sister-in-law of Thomas Hutchinson, soon to be the colony's most 
important officeholder. Peter Oliver's marriage to Mary Clarke oc- 
curred about the time of his brother's marriage, bringing him also 
good family ties. The brothers first associated in the shipping busi- 
ness, sometimes including as partners the Clarkes and Hutchinsons, 
but then in the war years of the 1740'$ Peter concentrated his efforts 
in the iron foundry business at Middleborough and also transferred 
other business activity there. 

Peter was unusually successful. His heavy profits from iron (war 
contracts) and agriculture gave him time for politics. Besides serv- 
ing in community and church positions in Middleborough, he ac- 
cepted a commission as justice of the peace in 1744, then as justice 
of the Common Pleas Court of Plymouth in 1748, and finally as 
associate judge of the colony's highest court, the Superior Court, in 
1756. During these years his participation in government was rivaled 
and surpassed by his brother's. Before 1756 Andrew had served as 
a member of both the lower and upper houses of the legislature, and 
in that year he became the secretary of the colony. Rising even 
higher in power was their friend Thomas Hutchinson. A councilor, 
a judge, and chief adviser of the governor, in 1758 Hutchinson was 
named the lieutenant governor of Massachusetts. 

For the first time in 1759 Peter Oliver took a seat in the upper 
house (the Council), with his brother and Hutchinson. A year later 
he promoted the marriage of his son and namesake to Sara Hutchin- 
son, daughter of the lieutenant governor, who was soon to become 
Oliver's colleague and chief on the Superior Court. These ties of the 
Olivers and Hutchinsons multiplied as they advanced in the colony's 
offices. When Hutchinson succeeded to the governorship, Andrew 
Oliver soon became the lieutenant governor, and Peter the chief 
justice of the Superior Court. Their sons, sons-in-law, and lesser 
relatives filled other important offices of government. Peter Oliver, 
as one of the big three in Massachusetts politics in the 1770*5, served 
as one of the judges in the trial of the Boston Massacre soldiers, was 
a leading figure in the controversy over British salaries for the judges, 
and was an intimate adviser of governors Hutchinson and Gage. 

death in 1732. Andrew spent most of his life in Boston, developed his father's business 
into a vast mercantile enterprise, and divided his energy in later life between his 
various businesses and his public offices. Clifford K. Shipton, Sibley's Harvard Grad- 
uates . . . , VII (Boston, 1945), 383-412. 

When Boston was sealed off from the country by Gage's orders In 
1775, Peter chose to remain in the town, serving as a Mandamus 
Councilor, a manager of the Loyalist Association, and a supporter 
of General Gage. Though Peter's health was poor and he suffered 
much from the shock of the revolution, sometime during the siege 
he became interested in preserving a record of the revolutionary 
crisis and began collecting evidence. 

Peter Oliver wrote most of the "Origin & Progress" in the quiet 
of a small cottage in suburban London. "I live in a retired Part of 
the Town, clean, healthy & free from Noise; the Doctor and his 
Family with me; many of our New England Acquaintance nigh me 
& the rest I can see every Day. I can at once burst into the Bustle 
of Life or remain in a still & almost rural Retreat. The Amusements 
& Instructions of Life are easily entred into, or I can entertain my 
self, undisturbed, with my Book; every Thing is upon such an ex- 
tensive Scale, that a Person must be compleatly stupid to wear out 
Life in Complaints of having nothing to do' 58 His few surviving 
letters show little bitterness, except that he was bewildered as most 
exiles were by the success of the revolution and by its complete 
overturn of their career and life expectations, and he wondered at 
its cause. He could see God's punishment in the later madness of 
Otis and Hawley, the ruined estates of Hancock, and the early 
deaths of Warren and others. But he could not help asking himself 
how the revolution occurred and why he was an exile. 


For the actual beginning of Peter Oliver's narrative of the revo- 
lution, readers may turn to Chapter II of the "Origin & Progress!' 
His preliminary remarks, though important in drawing the historical 
lines of separation between Britain and her colonies, represent the 
usual Tory search for an explanation of rebellion. 9 Starting in 1761 
political events had an explosive quality, a volcanic pressure, which 
made them revolutionary. When the lava spread in succeeding years, 
the fire ate away the hard surface of American loyalty and institu- 
tions, and the fire of revolution soon was everywhere. 

"I can see a concatenation of Incidents^' he says, which ushered in 

s Peter Oliver to Polly Watson Hutchinson, April 2, 1777, Hutctiinson- Watson 
Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society. 

9 Oliver himself apologizes for this very long introduction. He calls it a "Porch" and 
notes that the reader need not enter the house by the porch but can open the door 
of the main building, which is attached at the "End of the Porch!' 

the revolution. The first was the contested appointment of Thomas 
Hutchinson as chief justice of the Superior Court of Massachusetts 
by James Otis, Jr., in behalf of his father. The high bench had long 
been regarded as a place of prestige in the colony, and Otis, Sr., 
aspired to the position as a reward for his service to governors Shirley 
and Pownall. Though Oliver ignores this issue of service, he sees 
the issue just the same as a political battle between Hutchinson and 
Otis and details the merits of the men, favoring his friend and rela- 
tive by marriage, Thomas Hutchinson. Oliver evaluates the dispute 
significantly in political terms and names Otis' friends, Joseph Haw- 
ley, Samuel Adams, and John Hancock, and a chorus of clergymen 
who supported Otis in the pulpit as the founders of the revolutionary 
party. Oliver dislikes Otis because he was a political manager, whose 
rough-and-tumble politics in the House of Representatives were 
hardly fitting qualifications for the high court. Otis revealed his 
character when he was refused the judgeship. He spread the vol- 
canic fire of his opposition, and Oliver notes how flaws in the char- 
acter of Otis' friends then carried the lava of discontent to the 
masses. Oliver finds in Otis, Jr., unbridled passions, a near-fatal de- 
sire for liquor, and a defect in his armor of honor as a lawyer that 
made him vulnerable to revolutionary fire. Hawley, too, possessed 
passions that got him into trouble. His religious enthusiasm bordered 
on insanity and, perhaps, was an early manifestation of a nervous 
disorder that was later to ruin his career. Samuel Adams, Oliver 
observes, was said to resemble Satan, undoubtedly because he was 
unprincipled, associated with the lower orders of mankind, and was 
a bankrupt. Hancock, on the other hand, had no depth of wicked- 
ness. His mind was a "meer Tabula Rasa"; he had no genius for 
trade and no understanding of men; he allowed Adams to involve 
him in serpentine plots without realizing their significance. Han- 
cock's weakness was the unintelligent use of his economic resources. 
Oliver also sees many of these same character flaws in the Congrega- 
tional clergy. They were too close to the people, particularly to 
the Boston mob. Charles Chauncy, he notes, was bombastic, ill- 
tempered, and rash in his relations with others, while Jonathan 
Mayhew and Samuel Cooper lacked piety, judgment, and devotion 
to lawful government. In short, Otis' party was filled with people 
who permitted passion to run away with reason. Oliver's impres- 
sions may be distorted and one-sided, but the personalities are dif- 
ferentiated and given a character analysis of a quality too valuable 
to be ignored in judging politics in the i ydo's. 

Moreover, society had allowed violations of the law to undermine 
its reverence for order until its legislators, without regard for honor, 
were attacking Governor Francis Bernard on many issues of little 
real importance. They finally used the Stamp Act to convince "Gov- 
ernment of their Influence" by inciting opposition against Thomas 
Hutchinson, Andrew Oliver, and the customs officers. They aroused 
the passions of the people, and, observes Oliver, even "pious Men 
seemed to be wholly absorbed in the Temper of Riot!' Though mob 
rule was shocking, the behavior of William Pitt, who rejoiced in 
American resistance, was worse, because "it is more eligible to be 
without Laws, than to leave those that are made unexecuted & 
trampled upon by the dirty Foot of Rebellion or Faction!' 

The repeal of the Stamp Act gave the leaders proof of their power. 
They now struck hard at local opposition, purging the Council, de- 
faming the governor, and exciting the people through the press. 
The emotion aroused by these tactics was fed by the opposition to 
the Townshend Acts in 1767, when the leaders employed nonimpor- 
tation of British goods and increased smuggling to block the effec- 
tiveness of the law. The opposition took an emotional form: home 
manufacturing, substitutes for tea, and scenes of frenzy. The leaders 
worked the people into such a state that all government was chal- 
lenged. Bernard lost control of the administration, and troops came 
to Boston to rescue him. Safety was restored, and the town was 
quieter, if for only a short time, than for years. But "nocturnal Meet- 
ings" of the leaders kept the nonimportation agreements strong, and 
a shift of power brought John and Samuel Adams into prominence. 
More able than Otis and Hawley, they directed the attack upon 
lawful government. 

There happened at this time a scrimmage between the British 
troops and rowdy elements in the town, branded by the patriots as 
a massacre in order to whip up local emotion. Evidence was col- 
lected on its cause; the clergy denounced the army from their 
pulpits; but the courts freed the soldiers after a fair trial. The justices 
were threatened with assassination; the courtrooms of the colony 
were repeatedly violated by mob demonstrations; and juries were 

With this destruction of orderly government, the leaders coerced 
the people, using tar and feathers and "every low & dirty Art!' The 
press defamed officials, referring to them as "limping Dog," "Tom 
Cod" or anything else that would ridicule them. These derisive 
measures still did not destroy the appearance of government, though 

It was long helpless in enforcing its will Governor Hutchinson, 
courageous and resourceful, tried to maintain the dignity of govern- 
ment, but "the Feathers came through his Cushion, & made him 
restless!' Then the Boston Tea Party destroyed the appearance of 
government, and the faction was faced with "Neck or Nothing": 
revolution had come. 

Though the faction was at last successful, forces were unleashed 
that it could not manage. Morality was gone; respect for human 
dignity, family, and peace went with the Gospel when the clergy 
substituted politics for God. The courts were soon to be closed, 
while the chief justice, Peter Oliver, feared for his life. The people 
now formed associations and openly took government into their 
own hands. Boston became an armed camp, and battles between 
soldiers and militiamen challenged British rule. 

Oliver employs symbolic figures to explain the course of revolu- 
tion. The explosive character of the political disturbance is illus- 
trated by the volcano, its eruptive quality, the lava flow, and the 
spreading ash. The infectious growth of the revolution is described as 
the Hydra of mythology. Fed by greed, passion, and violence, the 
beast grew its heads, and the poisoned tongues spit forth the venom. 
Otis' spite in 1761 started its growth; Hawley, Adams, the clergy, 
and the newer leaders of 1767-1769 sprouted forth; the mob actions 
of 1765, 1768, 1770, and 1773 were the poison; the fall of Bernard, 
Hutchinson, and Oliver was the food. The revolution, therefore, 
was the result not of new institutions but of a decline in the political 
leadership of Massachusetts, unchecked by the mother country and, 
indeed, aided by William Pitt and others. 


To give color to his work Oliver used a variety of classical and 
poetical quotations. Besides their selection from many famous and 
once-famous authors, the most impressive thing about them is their 
accuracy. Most poetical lines are copied with care, observing cap- 
italization and punctuation. Apparently Oliver based many of his 
statements, like incidents of tar and feathering, upon newspaper ac- 
counts, taken usually from the Boston Weekly News-Letter. The 
quotations that have been located are accurate, and the essential facts 
in his descriptions are handled with care. Most dates and allusions to 
events, when they can be checked, are accurate. One is impressed 
again and again by the care with which Oliver wrote his history. 

Though Oliver's descriptions of the revolutionaries have been 
criticized as prejudiced, they should be treated differently. They 
were impressions; they were not intended as portraits, except to re- 
veal the hidden weaknesses of character that produced the Hydra. 
They were drawn in heavy lines, to emphasize passion, lust, ignor- 
ance, and any other defect that created the revolutionary disposi- 
tion. In magnifying defects, Oliver had probably not intended to 
violate standards of accuracy, and in one place he admitted that he 
was in error. He may have penetrated deeper into a patriot's char- 
acter than modern historians have done. George Anderson, writing 
the life of Ebenezer Mackintosh, considered Oliver's evaluation of 
Mackintosh basically sound, in spite of an appearance of exaggera- 
tion. John C. Miller cited Oliver's manuscript many times in his 
Sam Adams in order to establish character evaluations for Otis, 
Cooper, Samuel Adams, and Hancock. Alice M. Baldwin accepted 
Oliver's judgment concerning the power of the New England clergy 
over the common people and the revolutionaries. Malcolm Freiberg, 
in his scholarly articles on Thomas Hutchinson, has frequently cited 
Oliver's "Origin & Progress!' There are professional historians who 
have refrained from quoting Oliver extensively, notably Arthur M. 
Schlesinger in his Prelude to Independence and Lawrence H. Gip- 
soninhis The Coming of the Revolution, 1763-177$. Both historians, 
however, have cited the works of George Anderson and John C. 
Miller, who have used the Oliver manuscript. Of all modern his- 
torians Cliff ord K. Shipton has cited Oliver with the most approval 
in working out the biographical details for his character studies in 
Sibley's Harvard Graduates. It is not an exaggeration to add here 
that Oliver's "Origin & Progress" has been cited by most historians 
directly or indirectly in their accounts of the revolution and that 
almost every page of the manuscript has been cited somewhere, 
though one must hasten to add that, while this is true, most profes- 
sional historians cover their use of the manuscript by denouncing its 
Tory partiality. No historian thus far has treated it for what it is: 
a Tory view of revolution in Massachusetts. 

While Oliver delineated his characters too sharply, he was trying 
to tell an accurate story of revolution. Sometimes his intemperate 
language was so shocking to the patriotic sensitivities of historians 
that his assessments of characters were dismissed without evaluations, 
and thus his brilliant insights were missed. His description of James 
Otis, Sr., for example, as one who could captivate the "Ear of Coun- 
try Jurors, who were too commonly Drovers, Horse Jockies, & of 

other lower Classes in Life" is remarkable. Otis was a country lawyer 
and merchant, whose success was well established by his enlarging 
business. From his papers and legislative records one sees Otis as a 
tradesman, who had assumed the duty of a political manager for 
governors Shirley and Pownall. Country lawyers, it is known, 
worked with uneducated people, and many of the rural folk were 
representatives at Boston. From his ability to manage these people 
Otis drew his political strength but then sacrificed the respect of 
Peter Oliver, who regarded Otis as a valuable instrument in manipu- 
lating political power, though hardly one to grace the high bench. 
Otis should have held his place, and Hutchinson was justified in 
accepting the Superior Court appointment, if only because of his 
cultivated instincts as a gentleman. 

Oliver's other judgments often reflect his intimate commitment 
to the contemporary scene. Many times his emotional language re- 
veals his personal involvement in an event, for in nearly every clash 
of politics from 1759 until the revolution some member of the family 
was deeply concerned. His brother Andrew suffered bitterly as the 
stamp distributor in the riots of 1765 and was publicly humiliated 
at Liberty Tree. Even Andrew's funeral in 1774 was the scene of a 
mob reaction that made it unsafe for Peter to attend the services. 
Oliver's judgments, nonetheless, are valuable because they are assess- 
ments of contemporary events, insights that come from knowing 
the sound, smell, and feeling of the time, and impressions of one who 
could not join in the revolution. It is contemporary history, and 
Oliver has created by selective use of evidence a portrait of revolu- 
tion that mirrors the feelings of a Loyalist as he sees his society 
crumble. His observations are important for this feeling, for the 
reasons that he assigns for the collapse of Massachusetts society, and 
for his estimates of revolutionists and Loyalists. His two impressions 
of the revolution, in 1776 (reprinted on page 158) and in 1781, 
are basically the same, except that the 1781 "Origin & Progress" has 
added the "Porch," or as he calls his introduction, "the procatarctick 
Causes!' These put him in the general stream of Tory thinking that 
looks for long-term causes of revolution in America's development. 
His judgments are also significant because of his position in Massa- 
chusetts government. As chief justice of its highest court, adviser 
of governors, and lifelong public servant, he is a striking example of 
the American leader who was replaced by the rebellion. The quali- 
ties of mind and spirit as revealed in the "Origin & Progress" show 
Oliver to be a sophisticated gentleman of letters, utterly devoted to 

his country and the public service, a man whose personal charm 
equaled that of any revolutionist. He was caught in a struggle that 
allowed him no retreat, and even in the bitter days of the Boston 
siege he had the curiosity to ask himself how Massachusetts, presided 
over by so many gentlemen of peace, got embroiled in this horrify- 
ing disturbance. 


Oliver used the professional historian's technique of selecting his 
evidence in order to establish his thesis. His omissions are as inter- 
esting and valuable to an understanding of his "Origin & Progress" 
as the episodes and personages that he includes in the narrative. 
Thomas Hutchinson, for example, is built into a tragic hero who 
won the love and esteem of the people until Otis' men of passion 
came along with their campaign of hate. Hutchinson is described as 
a political genius, whose judgment, training, devotion to duty, ex- 
perience in government, and instincts were the most cultivated of 
any Massachusetts leader. He was, Oliver repeatedly reminds the 
reader, nearly indispensable in colonial politics and was hated by 
the passion-directed revolutionaries because of his political successes. 
But Oliver nowhere speaks of Hutchinson's love for office that 
peculiar lust that made him accept office upon office without ever 
considering the political repercussions. Surely Hutchinson was not 
the only man available for the chief- justiceship in 1760. Both Hutch- 
inson and Oliver, however, seem blinded to political realities. The 
collection of offices in the family was unique in prerevolutionary 
history and would be unique in almost any other period of American 
history. Oliver never considered this mania for office-collecting as 
one of those unhealthy passions that were affecting Massachusetts 
life before the revolution. 

Nor does he weigh the role of Governor Bernard as a political 
leader, except in some general remarks on the governor's virtues. 
Bernard was plainly not politically astute. Unlike his predecessors 
Shirley and Pownall, he did not rally gentlemen of influence to him 
in order to lay foundations of power. Hutchinson's appointment as 
chief justice was an example of Bernard's inability to appreciate the 
need for enlarging the support of the administration. The Otises 
were powerful people, and his alienation of them caused James Otis, 
Jr., to become opposition leader in the House of Representatives, a 
successor for James Allen, who died in 1755. Oliver is obviously 
wrong in saying Bernard "lived in great Harmony" with the people, 

when Otis was consolidating his power by removing the colonial 
agent, William Bollan, and when the Anglican church was again an 
object of controversy, but these episodes are passed over without 

The treatment of Bernard's administration reflects Oliver's gen- 
eral impression of British rule. Except for his denunciation of Wil- 
liam Pitt, the radicalism of former Governor Thomas Pownall, and 
the softness of British policies in the colonies, he says almost nothing 
about imperial relations. The Stamp Act is accepted as a legitimate 
way for Britain to remove her indebtedness, and there is no con- 
sideration of the harm this kind of taxation had upon the Massa- 
chusetts economy, although even Thomas Hutchinson condemned 
it as an inexpedient and burdensome tax and worked for its repeal. 
The occupation of Boston by British regulars is not analyzed as a 
question of liberty and order, and no blame is placed upon Bernard, 
Hutchinson, or Gage for the unhealthful condition of the city be- 
fore the Boston Massacre. But Oliver admits privately in another 
episode that the army was capable of doing injustice. 

Oliver omits any reference to American legitimate rights of self- 
government. He held the Lockian view of revolution as a proper 
means of combating oppression, but he refused to consider Ameri- 
can grievances as a sufficient excuse for rebellion. He plainly never 
faced up to the problem of lawful opposition, branding every one of 
the episodes before the revolution as evidence of mob violence, the 
insanity of passion, and the selfishness of miserable men. When the 
colonists protested British grants of salary to the jurists, Oliver saw 
the issue as the ungenerous attitude of the people to their public 
servants. He mentions that he had spent seventeen years on the 
bench and contributed 2,000 more than he had received in salary 
to emphasize his own unselfish devotion to good government. But 
the high road that he took was not so high as it seems. His family 
made a fortune from contracts during the Seven Years' War; they 
were ever present at Boston to advocate policies of taxation and 
currency that would benefit their merchant interests; and they used 
patronage to establish a monopoly of positions unlike anything in 
England or elsewhere in America. Contemporaries like John Adams 
found their grasping for offices shocking and ridiculed their asser- 
tions of making a sacrifice for the public good as hypocrisy. Despite 
Oliver's concern for the rising opposition to Britain, he did not be- 
lieve any governmental policies except those of firmness could have 
removed the revolutionary conditions. Revolution was plainly 


caused by passion and not policy. Apparently British policy had not 
changed, loyal leadership in the colonies had not deteriorated; only 
the Infectious element of passion changed Americans, Unlike Gal- 
loway, Pownall, and Bernard, he did not see the solution for the rev- 
olution In a new basis of imperial government. Still, he may have 
been more realistic than these Imperialists in holding that nothing 
would satisfy the revolutionists except the complete gratification of 
their passions. 

Though Oliver will not satisfy the reader in the breadth of his 
political observations, his "Origin & Progress" Is unique for the 
variety of political material it presents on Massachusetts, and espe- 
cially on Oliver's own education and political norms. His blind spots 
as a politician may not have resulted In his Loyalism, but they ex- 
plain in part why he was unable to adapt himself to the fast-changing 
events of American life after 1760. 


The original manuscript of Oliver's "Origin & Progress" appar- 
ently is no longer in existence, but there is a fair copy presumably 
made during his lifetime and a second made for the family a gen- 
eration later. The earlier one was purchased by the British Museum 
in 1887 and now is number 2671 in the Egerton Manuscripts. It is 
unsigned, but Peter O. Hutchinson, who sold it and other Oliver- 
Hutchinson papers to the British Museum, certified that family 
tradition always attributed its authorship to Peter Oliver. Both its 
watermarks and handwriting indicate that It should be dated before 
1800. The other copy was purchased in 1923 by the Huntington 
Library from Charles J. Sawyer of London, who had bought it and 
some other Oliver-Hutchinson Items from Edith M. Bailey, a great- 
granddaughter of Thomas Hutchinson, in 1916. This Huntington 
copy was made about 1824, by four different copyists, and now is 
number 550 In the Huntington Library manuscripts. 

Both Oliver manuscripts are basically the same In content, ex- 
cept for differences in capitalization, a few changes in word order, 
and minor variations in paragraphing. There are about three hun- 
dred words on Israel Putnam that were crossed out in the British 
Museum manuscript and eliminated entirely from the Huntington 
Library copy; this variation has been footnoted. Since the British 
Museum copy is the older manuscript, it has been used in editing the 
"Origin & Progress!' The editors appreciate the permission of the 
Trustees of the British Museum in allowing publication of the manu- 

script. Though the editors have retained as much as possible of the 
original form of the manuscript, including peculiarities of spelling, 
they have divided a few of the longer paragraphs and supplied some 
incidental punctuation. As an aid to the reader, the manuscript has 
been divided into chapters, and topical headings have been inserted. 
For biographical detail the editors have relied upon Shipton's excel- 
lent life of Peter Oliver in Sibley '$ Harvard Graduates, VIII (1951), 
737-763, and have consulted Andrew Oliver's Faces of a Family 
(Privately printed, 1960) for Oliver family portraits. Besides this 
material, they have consulted the Egerton Manuscripts in the British 
Museum, examining Oliver's original letters and travel diaries; they 
have used the Oliver papers and transcripts at the Library of Con- 
gress and Massachusetts Historical Society. Their work has been 
made easier by the assistance of the Huntington Library staff, which 
obtained for their use microfilms from Harvard University and the 
Massachusetts Historical Society. Their research was also expedited 
by the help of the Clareinont Graduate School, which has added to 
its already vast microprint collection a file of early American news- 
papers. The Danforth Foundation awarded John A. Schutz a travel 
grant so that he could study pertinent documents in the Boston area. 
The editors express their appreciation to the Board of Trustees of 
the Huntington Library for making possible the publication of this 
book. They are also indebted to the Library's director, John E. 
Pomfret, for his valuable suggestions and to Mrs. Nancy C English 
for her devoted assistance in preparing the manuscript for publica- 
tion. The editors wish to thank the many librarians, scholars, and 
secretaries who have aided them in this project. Mr. Ray Cubberly, 
a graduate student now at the University of Wisconsin, was espe- 
cially helpful. Mr. Andrew Oliver, of New York City, gave per- 
mission to reproduce the Copley portrait as a frontispiece for the 

April w, i $6 1 




London March it. 1781. 

The Revolt of North America,, from their Allegiance to & Con- 
nection with the Parent State, seems to be as striking a Phaenom- 
enon, in the political World, as hath appeared for many Ages past; 
& perhaps it is a singular one. For, by adverting to the historick Page, 
we shall find no Revolt of Colonies, whether under the Roman or 
any other State, but what originated from severe Oppressions, de- 
rived from the supreme Head of the State, or from those whom he 
had entrusted as his Substitutes to be Governors of his Provinces. 
In such Cases, the Elasticity of human Nature hath been exerted, to 
throw off the Burdens which the Subject hath groaned under; & in 
most of the Instances which are recorded in History, human Nature 
will still justify those Efforts. 

But for a Colony, wch. had been nursed, in its Infancy, with the 
most tender Care & Attention; which had been indulged with every 
Gratification that the most froward Child could wish for; which 
had even bestowed upon it such Liberality, which its Infancy & 
Youth could not think to ask for; which had been repeatedly saved 
from impending Destruction, sometimes by an Aid unsought-at 
other times by Assistance granted to them from their own repeated 
humble Supplications; for such Colonies to plunge into an un- 
natural Rebellion, & in the Reign of a Sovereign, too, whose publick 
Virtues had announced him to be the Father of his Country, & whose 
private Virtues had distinguished him as an Ornament of ye. human 
Species this surely, to an attentive Mind, must strike with some 
Degree of Astonishment; & such a Mind would anxiously wish for 
a Veil to throw over the Nakedness of human Nature. 2 

^n early version of Peter Oliver's manuscript appeared in the Massachusetts Gazette 
and Boston Weekly News-Letter, Jan. n, 1776, and is reproduced on p. 158 of this 
book. This newspaper will hereafter be cited by its earlier and shorter tide: Boston 
Weekly News-Letter. 

2 1bry literature often adopted this line of argument. The wording here reminds one 
of Galloway's Historical and Political Reflections on . . . the American Rebellion. 

The Rebellion in America hath been a Subject of as great Specu- 
lation, & of as much Altercation in great Britain, as any Topick 
whatever which hath agitated the Mind of an Englishman since the 
Year 1641-, & I am perswaded that few Subjects are so little under- 
stood. Liberty is the darling Idea of an Englishman, & there is so 
much Magic in the bare Sound of the Word, that the Discord of 
Licentiousness very seldom vibrates on the Ear. The Distinction 
between natural Liberty & civil Liberty is too seldom adverted to. 
Therefore, when in the former State there seems to be an Infringe- 
ment, Mankind make [s] a Party to resent the Aifront offered to 
an Individual; & in the latter State, an inattentive Mind, regardless 
of that Distinction, is too apt to suffer the latter to be absorbed in 
the former; and hence arise many Evils which Society are incident 
to, and which induce Anarchy & every Species of Confusion. 
Whereas, by drawing the Line between them, & casting our Eye on 
each Side of it, we shall view different Prospects; & unbiassed Reason 
will soon determine the Boundaries by which each of them are to be 

In a State of Nature, where she unbosoms herself to all her Off- 
spring, he that first seizes an Object, adapted to satiate his natural 
Wants, hath as much Right to enjoy it as any other Individual of her 
Creation. But as Mankind increased, her Productions lessened in Pro- 
portion; so that where there was a Deficiency in her Efforts, human 
Aid stepped in, to supply them, by adding to her Fertility. It may be 
said, that by extending their Researches, Mankind would have ex- 
plored Territory sufficient to have satiated all their Wantstrue! But 
who of this Number should be obliged to migrate? Every one, in his 
natural State, had an equal Right to remain on that Spot which he 
had occupied; but then, if Numbers chose to reside in a Community 
they would, of Course, appropriate particular Soils for their own 
Improvement; & as different Passions operated, they would create 
to themselves artificial Wants, which they would chuse to defend as 
well as supply; hence would arise Encroachments upon Property. 
For, as Mankind are not constituted of like Tempers & Passions, some 
who were of a more indolent & indulging Make would claim a Right 
to Support, from the Labors of the more active & industrious. Con- 
sequently, such a Conduct would meet with Opposition. This Oppo- 
sition would create Strife, War & Bloodshed; & these would neces- 
sarily terminate in what is, with the greatest Propriety, termed civil 
Government. This hath been the Fact from the earliest Ages to the 
present .Era, & the Reasons on which it is founded are too irresistable 

to admit of a Doubt, that the same Causes will ever produce the same 
Effects. Here then a State of natural Liberty must end; & a State of 
civil Liberty must commence. 

As to a State of natural Liberty's existing, for any Length of Dura- 
tion, it is perfectly ideal; & that there is any such State of Existence 
now, among the human Species remains at present to be proved. If 
we were to search for it, the most probable Path to take would be to 
explore the Wilds of America-, but here we should search in vain. 
For every Part, which the boldest Adventurer hath as yet explored, 
hath discovered no Nation but among whom the Footsteps of civil 
Liberty may be traced by stronger or weaker Impressions. These 
happy Tribes, as I chuse to term them, enjoy civil Government in 
certain Degrees, though different in the Modes of it. They have their 
Kings & wise Men of Council, their Sachems & Sagamores, on whom 
they rely for their Conduct; & their great Confidence in them sup- 
plys, in many Instances, the deficiency of the written Laws of more 
refined Nations. They have a Religion of their own, which, to the 
eternal Disgrace of many Nations who boast of Politeness, is more 
influential on their Conduct than that of those who hold them in so 
great Contempt. As in the earliest Ages of the World, so among 
those Tribes, they adhere to Tradition for their Conduct, in the more 
important Scenes of Life. 

Since then we shall find, after the most critical Researches, that a 
mere State of Natural Liberty, amongst Plato' } s two legged rational 
Animals, is not at present existant, nor ever did exist for any Length 
of Time. Let us then advert to a State of civil Liberty, to which the 
former as naturally gravitates as heavy Bodies do to the Centre of the 
Earth; and we shall find, that whoever changes from the former to 
the latter, must part with some Priviledges, real or imaginary, which 
he enjoyed in that, in order to obtain greater Advantages in this. In 
the former Situation, he was exposed to the cruel Resentment of 
every one who imagined himself to be offended by him. His Hand 
perhaps would be against every Man, & every Mans Hand against 
him. His ideal Property would be unsafe; & his Life as unsafe as his 
Property; but, by stepping into the social State, he hath secured 
both. But then he must not expect to reap all the Advantages to him- 
self, without deriving some Advantage to the Society which he hath 
connected himself with. He must part with that Power which he 
was formerly in Possession of, of appropriating every Thing to 
his own Use wch. he may first happen to stumble upon; in Exchange 
for which, he is to recieve the joint Force of the Community in de- 

fending him in any Property he may, now, or in future, possess 
agreeable to the Rules of that Community which he associates with. 
He must part with the Right of private Revenge which he claimed 
in his State of Nature, & submit it to publick Vengeance; unless, 
where he is drove by his Enemy, to defend his Life & Property, into 
such a Situation which obliges him to recur to a State of Nature for 
his own Security; & in this Case, the Laws of the most civilized Na- 
tions will justifie him, because he was, at that Time, in the ineligible 
State, of being out of their Protection. 3 

He must go further still. He must abate of that self sufficiency 
which he had imbibed in the simple State of Nature, of doing what 
was right in his own Eyes; & submit his private Opinion to the pub- 
lick Judgement of the many, confiding in their united Sense, as of 
more Authority than the Sentiments of any Individual. Nay, he 
must also consent to the Opinion of the Majority of the Society, be 
it never so small a Majority. Otherwise, he may introduce a Prin- 
ciple on which may be founded such Dissentions as would be de- 
structive of the very Existence of such a Society; for this Majority, 
be it ever so small, might have a Preponderance of Weight to resist 
the Force of any Opposition that might be thrown into the opposite 
Scale; the Consequences of which, it requires no great Sagacity to 
foresee. The Man, who cannot conform to this System, must either 
revert to his former State of Nature, where he will soon meet with 
Destruction from those who are united in Society, or he must, like 
Lord Wharton's Puppies, open his Eyes before he is quite drowned, 
& repair to Society for Protection from that Destruction, as well as 
from lesser Evils which may be the natural Preludes to it. 4 

3 Oliver leans toward the Lockian concept of civil government, but every now and 
then in his writings passages like this reflect the influence of Thomas Hobbes's Levia- 
than. Plato described man "as a two legged animal without feathers!' This description 
was ridiculed later by Diogenes. 

4 Oliver may have taken his story of Lord Wharton's puppies from an article in the 
Gentleman's Magazine, III (1733), 529: "The Author, after having animadverted on 
the Folly of those Boroughs, which re-elect the same Representatives by which they 
have loudly declared themselves betray' d, tells the following Story, which, he believes, 
is known but to few 

"Some few Months before the Death of the late Queen. Afrch]. B[isho]p Sharp 
meeting the Marq. of Wharton, in the Court of Requests, thus address'd him, 'My 
Lord, I am sorry to say, that the Measures which the Ministry are pursuing at present 
are by no Means such as I approve, they seem to be going [to] very unwarrantable 
Lengths, I have hitherto join'd with them, while I thought they had their Country's 
Interest, and the Welfare of the Church at Heart; but whatever they, or your Lord- 
ship may imagine, I am no Pretender's Man, no Jacobite nor ever shall be one. ... To 
be plain, I suspect there is some Design to bring in the Pretender they shall never 

But here steps in a Maxim; which hath had a most powerfull Op- 
eration on the Minds of some who have set out in the political Race, 
vizt. "that no Man can be said to be free, 'who hath not a Vote in en- 
acting the Laws by which he is to be governed, or in giving his Con- 
sent to the imposing Taxes to which he is to contribute his Shared 
This Maxim hath been advanced by some theoretick Writers on 
Government, who were an Honor to human Nature: but Theory & 
Practice often differ. The metaphy [si] cian often fails in his Dogmas, 
through want of a thorough Investigation of the human Mind. The 
Philosopher misses it also, at particular Times, for even that great 
Philosophical Luminary, Sr. Isaac Newton, whom, as Mr. Pope ex- 
presses himself, the Angelick Orders shew to each other as we lower 
Beings shew an Ape. 6 Even Sr. Isaac hath had some of his Principles 
controverted & disproved; & why? but because neither are infallible. 
For there is such a Progression in Knowledge, that the Limits of the 
human Mind & its Duration are too contracted, fully to investigate 
the Process of Nature. 

Let us now see what the Consequence of the foregoing Maxim, 
taken strictly, must besupposing, as in Great Britain, there are sev- 
eral Millions to be governed, & each Individual is to give his Consent 

have my Concurrence therein ... if your Lordship will join Forces with me, . . . We 
will form a Party strong enough to break all their Measures! 

"Is your Grace in earnest? said the Marquis, I am, reply'd the Arch-Bishop gravely- 
Let me beg Leave then to tell your Grace a short Story, rejoin* d the Marquis with 
equal Gravity I had a Present made me of a fine Bitch, which in due Time produc'd 
a Litter of Whelps, and pleasing my self with the Fancy that they would prove 
excellent in their kind, I went every Day to see them; but when the ninth Day came, 
the Time that all Puppies used to see, these Whelps continued still blind; I tried them 
the loth, i ith, and izth Day, and still they continued the same. Wherefore having no 
Hopes of them I order'd 'em to be thrown into the Horsepond Would your Grace 
believe it? Just as they were sinking their Eyes opened Which said, he walk'd away, 
and left the A. Bp to apply the Story!' 

5 This statement may be a composite quotation, or quotation marks were placed 
around the maxim to give it more emphasis. There were similar statements in the 
Massachusetts Spy, Nov. 14, 1771 ("Mucius Scaevola"); Boston Gazette, Jan. 20, 1772 
("Candidus" and "American Solon"); and the Boston Weekly News-Letter, Jan. 9, 
1772 ("Chronus"). See also James Otis, "The Rights of the British Colonies Asserted 
and Proved" in Some Political Writings of James Otis, ed. Charles F. Mullett, Uni- 
versity of Missouri Studies, IV (Columbia, Mo., 1929), 73. None of the above writers, 
however, uses the word "vote" to express consent in approving taxes. 

6 "An Essay on Man;' The Works of Alexander Pope, ed. Whitwell Elwin and 
William John Courthope (London, 1871-89), II, 378, Epistle II, 11. 32-34: 
A mortal man unfold all nature's law, 
Admired such wisdom in an earthly shape, 
And showed a Newton, as we show an ape. 

to every Vote to be passed by this collective Body. Where will be 
found a Blackheath large enough for them to assemble upon in full 
Synod? Or, when assembled, how long a Time must it take for the 
Sound of every Proposal to reverberate in its full Weight? I think 
it may be readily answered, that it would take such a Length of Time, 
that each Individual would be a Governor without having any one 
Subject to govern; starving at the same Time, either for Want of 
Bread, or for Want of Work to earn Bread with. But it may be 
said, let the united Body chuse those in whom they can confide to 
represent them in Council, & suffer this Body, or a Majority of it, 
to govern the whole Community. This certainly is the only or best 
Method that human Wisdom hath ever yet invented, or probably 
ever will invent, to secure the greatest Freedom to Society; but 
even here, it cannot be without its Objections, according to the 
Strictness of the aforesaid Maxim. For if the Person, whom fifty of 
us should depute to act for us, should act & vote our Minds, yet, if 
ten more Representatives of five hundred Men should outvote the 
one whom the fifty deputed, & pass a Law to tax me against my 
Consent; or the Consent of him who may represent me, how can I 
be said to be free? Or supposing that I am absent, or sick, when 
the Choice of a Representative may come on, so that I have lost my 
Vote for him, how can I be said to enjoy Freedom, when I am taxed 
without my Consent? Nay, even supposing that the Representative, 
whom I might have voted for, should have declared in publick As- 
sembly that I ought to be taxed. 7 These, added to many similar In- 
stances that might be adduced to prove the same Consequences, must 
convince a rational Mind that there is no such Object as perfect 
Freedom to be attained, untill the Constitution of human Nature is 
changed; & such a Mind will be satisfied with the Lot assigned to it 
by the Author of Nature, & be contented, after its strictest Re- 
searches, to sit down under the Shadow of the english System of 
Government, so much applauded by Foreigners. 

But, even in this Government, much the greater Number are un- 
represented. For in the original Deposit of the Power of making 
Laws for the publick Safety, it was provided, that the Major Part 
of those who were to establish the Laws should govern the minor 
Part. This major Part hath delineated the Qualifications of Voters 
for Representation, so that there is such a Constitution formed, 
which, to make Innovations upon, might endanger the whole Super- 

7 These ideas may have come from [Soame Jenyns], The Objections to the Taxation 
of Our American Colonies . . . , 2nd ed, (London, 1765) . 

structure. Innovations have been tried, & the Building hath fallen 
to Ruin, & remained in that State, untill a Set of wiser Architects 
hath erected the present on the Ruins of the old onePerfection in 
any Thing human is not to be expected. The nearer the Approach 
to it is, the better Perfection is 'what ne'er <was, nor is, nor e'er 'will 
<? There is a publick Confidence due from us to our Legislators. 
If they err, for to err is human, & they err ignorantly, all just 
Allowances ought be given to them, untill we can convince them, 
by Reason, of what is right. If they err wilfully, it will soon be in 
our Power to remove them; but it is not probable, that so large a 
Body of the Community shou'd unite in pulling down the Building, 
because they must know, that on the Destruction of it, they, like 
Samson, must be buried in its Ruins. 

Methinks Sir! I hear you ask me, why all this Introduction? Why 
so long a Porch before the Building is reached? Let me answer You 
by saying, that you desired me to give You the History of the ameri- 
can Rebellion, because You thought that I was intimately acquainted 
with the Rise & Progress of it; having lived there for so many Years, 
& been concerned in the publick Transactions of Government be- 
fore the Rebellion burst its Crater. I was very willing to answer 
your Request. I, on my Part, must ask you to oblige me, by per- 
mitting me, in the epistolary Walks, to indulge my Fancy in the 
Choice of my Path. Besides, you may perhaps, in the Sequel, find 
some Analogy between the Porch & the Building, & that they are 
not two detached Structures; altho' a good Architect might have 
produced a better Effect, by making either or both of them a little 
more tasty. However, if you will excuse the Hibernicism, you need 
not enter the House by its Porch, but open the Door of the main 
Building which hangs at the End of the Porch, & adjoins to it. 

Before I introduce you to the House, let me remind you, that I 
shall confine myself, chiefly, to the Transactions of the Province 
of the Massachusetts Bay, as it was this Province where I resided, 
& was most intimate to the Transactions of; & as it was the Volcano 
from whence issued all the Smoak, Flame & Lava which hath since 
enveloped the whole British american Continent, for the Length of 
above 1700 Miles. If I deviate into other Colonies, my Excursions 
will be few & short. I promise You that I will adhere most sacredly 
to Truth, & endeavor to steer as clear as possible from Exaggeration; 
although many Facts may appear to be exaggerated, to a candid 
Mind, which is always fond of viewing human Nature on the bright- 
est Side of its Orb. 

In the following Narrative, I think it necessary to observe some 
Method, in order to elucidate the Subject; & therefore shall, in the 
first Place, give You, what Physicians & Metaphysicians too, call the 
procatarctick Cause 8 of those Disorders which have for a long Time 
past subsisted, & do now reign triumphant in America; for that 
Maxim, Nemo repente fuit turpissimus, is too well established to 
be controverted. 9 I shall relate actSj which are not drawn, but 
naturally flow from such Causes. I shall give to you a Sketch of dif- 
ferent Characters, who were either Objects of the Resentment of 
this unparralleled Rebellion, or of those who were the principal 
Agitators in projecting & pursuing It to its present Form; & here I 
shall avoid suffering my Pencil to throw one Shade, either to add 
a Beauty or strike out a Deformity. I shall, also, give you a few of 
the Consequences that have been attendant on the triumphant Prog- 
ress of this Daemon; & if you are not satiated with your Entertain- 
ment, I will, by Way of Appendix, spread a Dessert before you, 
which, unlike modern Desserts that convey a Relish with them, I 
fear will create a Nausea; which, if it should create, you must not 
blame me. For I present it by way of Appendix, wch. you are under 
no Necessity of meddling with; but if your Curiosity should be 
such as to take & eat, you will be in Danger of not getting the Taste 
out of your Mouth very soon. 


The Narrative runs thus 

When that nocturnal Meteor, Popery, burst in the British Hemis- 
phere, by the influential Rays of that more luminous Body, the Ref- 
ormation, it was dissipated into numberless Parts. And like the Con- 
vulsions of Nature, which generally occasion Confusion among Man- 
kind, so this Shock, in the civil & ecclesiastical World, split itself 
into a great Variety of Sects & produced an Anarchy of Sentiment: 
& no Wonder. Since the emerging so suddenly from worse than 
./Egyptian Darkness, the human Mind was not strong enough to 
bear so sudden a Flash of Light; & must necessarily grope about to 
feel the regular Path to walk in. Besides, the greater Part of the 
People, when they had in some Degree recovered their Eyesight, & 

8 The procatarctic cause was the immediate or initial cause of a disease. Oliver ac- 
cepted the larger meaning given by Thomas Tryon in A Treatise of Dreams & Visions 
(London?, 169-?), p. 256: "The truth is, Pride may justly be said to be the chief 
Procatarick, or remote original cause of Madness. . . !' 

9 "No man became completely vicious all at once!' 

found their Shackles were knocked off, not being able to bear so 
sudden a Transition, indulged themselves in their own wanton Imag- 
inations, & claimed the Priviledge of doing what was right in their 
own Eyes, without subjecting themselves to any ControuL 

The ecclesiastical Power, at this Jira, justly thought that too 
great a Change from the Ceremonies of the romish Church might 
have an ill Effect upon the Minds of the Vulgar, which had been so 
long habituated to a Religion of Ceremonies. They therefore re- 
tained a Number of those which they imagined would be least ex- 
ceptionable: but, on the other Hand, there were many, some from 
spiritual Pride & the Vanity of being distinguished, & others from 
Sincerity of Heart, who were averse from doing Things by Halves, 
imagined that if Root & Branch were not extirpated, a new Phoenix 
would rise out of the Ashes of ye. old one. Like froward Children 
they would have all or none. They therefore seceded from the es- 
tablished Church, & from each other. Some went off to different 
Parts of the World, & others staid behind, in order to have their 
Names enrolled in the Catalogue of Martyrs, provided they could 
not triumph in Victory among those who went to foreign Parts 
was a Mr. Robert Brown, a young Clergyman of overheated Zeal, 
who preached so warmly against the Ceremonies & Discipline of 
the Church of England, Anno 1580, that he was obliged to fly to 
Middleburg of Zealand in Holland-, where, with some of his Dis- 
ciples, he formed a Church called Broivnists, after their Leader. But 
after his Zeal had boiled over so long, & discharged its more volatile 
Particles, he returned to England, recanted, took Orders, & died In 
the Communion of the Church of England, Anno /tfjo. 10 

Some of these Brownists, who were settled in Yarmouth 1602, & 
after they thought that they had been sufficiently harassed by the 
ecclesiastical Power, migrated to Holland under the Pastorate of 
Mr. John Robinson, a young Man of rigid Principles, who preached 
not only against the Discipline & Ceremonies of the Church of Eng- 
land, but also the Unlaiufullness of hearing the Preachments of the 
Divines of that Church, although they were never so learned & 
pious. 11 Mr. Robinson afterward, when the Ebullition of his Zeal 

10 Robert Browne (i55o?-i633?), famous separatist and founder of the Brownists, 
had as unusual a career as Oliver describes. 

11 John Robinson (1576? -1625), a native of Lincolnshire and minister of the Pilgrim 
fathers, held strong convictions, debating at various times with William Ames and 
John Yates. He was opposed to the Calvinist form of church government. 

had subsided, recanted his rigid Sentiments, & preached also, not 
only the Lawfullness but the Duty of hearing such Divisions. In this 
last Sentiment he was confirmed by a Controversy which he had 
maintained with that great & good Man Dr. Ames, whom he had not 
only wrote against, but abused; 'till the Dr. by his superior Judg- 
ment had cooled the Ardor of his Passions & brought him to a sober 
Way of thinking. 12 

Under the Government of a Republick it might be thought that 
they would be easy, especially [in] a Dutch Commonwealth, where 
a Man may worship the Devil if he will pay a moderate Fee for his 
Licence; but even here, they could not be easy for any great Length 
of Time. For this Republick had its established Religion too, which 
it would not suffer to be overborne by Novelty; so that, after a 
few years, they finding that the Irritability of their Nerves had not 
subsided, formed a Scheme for another Emigration. There had been 
a Virginia Company, who at several Times had sent over Numbers 
to settle that Colony, with a View to Profit from Trade, Commerce 
& Mines; but in 1620 King James ist. granted a Patent to settle to 
the Northward of the Virginia Company, from 40 to 48 Deg: North 
Latitude, by the Name of the Plymouth Company, as it was made 
to a Number called the Council of Plymouth in Devon. Some of 
those, who were of Mr. Robinson's Church in Holland, together 
with some others in England of the same Way of thinking, under- 
took the Voyage to America. Those in Holland pretended that the 
Difference of Languages, the Difficulty of Subsistence & Danger of 
losing their Interest in the English Nation were the Cause of their 
Removal. The Difficulty of Subsistence & the slender Prospect of 
Gain in Holland no Body can doubt might be a sufficient Reason; 
for it is not sufficient to be naturalized, but a Man must be born a 
Dutchman, to be a Match for a Dutchman in trade. There is a cer- 
tain something in human Nature, let it be called Pride, a Fondness 
for Superiority, or any more moderate Term, as may strike the 
Fancy best, which stimulates the Mind to act as a Bell Weather to a 
Flock, to hand our Names down to Posterity as Leaders, either in 
Religion, Politicks, or some other System, as may suit our Genius 
best. This something discovers itself in its earliest Infancy, & con- 
tinues to our latest Dotage. It is more than possible, that this, to- 

12 William Ames (1576-1633), of an ancient Norfolk family, was an energetic Puritan 
minister and professor of religion at Franeker. He supported the Calvinist party in 
religious controversy. 

gether with a View to great Advantages from the Culture of a fer- 
tile Soil, & an extended Fishery, were the principal Causes of Emigra- 
tion across an Ocean of 3000 Miles. 

These Emigrants, then, embarqued with a Design to have settled 
on Hudson's River, now New York Government, which had been 
explored in / 608 by Capt. Henry Hudson in his Attempt to find a 
North West Passage to the East Indies. They procured a Dutchman 
to pilot them to this River; but it was supposed that the Hollanders 
had bribed him; for there was a small Dutch Settlement on that 
River; & the Pilot, instead of carrying their small Fleet thither, 
steered them towards Cape Cod-, & on the iSth. December 1620 they 
landed at a Place which they called New Plimouth. After grappling 
with many Difficulties, & having formed theirselves into a Govern- 
ment, they conducted their Affairs with as much Prudence & Loy- 
alty, as perhaps any new formed Government which had ever 
existed; untill they were incorporated into the Massachusetts Char- 
ter, October jth. 1692; & from hence we may date, not only their 
Incorporation of Interests, but of Sentiments also. 

The Council of Plimouth, in the County of Devon in England, 
having sold to a Number of Persons, a Part of their Patent, extend- 
ing three Miles South of Charles River to three Miles North of Mer- 
rimack River, at the Bottom of Massachusetts Bay. King Charles ist. 
incorporated the Grantees into a Body Politick, by a Charter dated 
4th. March 1629/30, & 4th. Year of his Reign. 

As much hath been pleaded, in the present Rebellion, for an 
Exemption from all Taxes, from the Tenor of this Charter. It may 
not be amiss to make some Strictures on the Validity of such Pleas. 
At one Time it is said, that the Charter exempts them from any :' 
Tax whatever at another Time, that the Charter is a Compact, & 
that they have fullfilled their Parts, by settling the Country, & so are 
exempted from any Burdens, but what they may be pleased to im- 
pose upon theirselves. As to the first Plea, a Transcription of a few 
Clauses of the Charter will elucidate the Subject: & as to the latter 
Plea, I believe it was the first Time that a Charter was ever sup- 
posed to include in it the Idea of a Compact, in legal Acceptation: 
but taking both Pleas to be just, the Rebellion must Vail to the 
Charter itself. 

The Words of this Charter, as far as they relate to the present 
Dispute, run thus vizt. 

That the Grantees "shall, from Time to Time, & at all Times for 
ever hereafter, be by Virtue of these Presents one Body corporate 

politlque in Fact & in Name, by the Name, of ye. Governor & Com- 
pany of the Massachusetts Bay in New England shall be capable 
to implead & be impleaded to purchase any Lands, Tenements, 
goods or Chattells; & grant, sell & dispose of the same, as other of 
our leige People of this our Realm of England, or any other Cor- 
poration, or Body politique of the same, may lawfully do. To make 
Laws & Ordinances for the Good & Welfare of the said Company; 
so as such Laws & Ordinances be not contrary or repugnant to the 
Laws & Statutes of this our Realm of England. And for their further 
Encouragement, of our especial Grace & Favor, we yeild & grant 
to the said Governor & Company, their Factors & Assigns, that they 
shall be free & quit from all Taxes, Subsidies & Customs in New 
England, for the Space of seven Yearsthat they may transport any 
Persons, Shipping, Armour, Weapons, Ordnance, Ammunition, 
Powder, Shot, Corn, Victuals & all Manner of Cloathing, Imple- 
ments, Furniture, Beasts, Cattle, Horses, Mares, Merchandizes, & c. 
without paying Custom or Subsidy, inward or outward, by the 
space of seven Years from the Day of the Date of these Presents; 
provided, none of the said Persons be such as shall hereafter, by 
special Name, be restrained by us, our Heirs, & Successors. They 
shall be free from all Taxes & Impositions, for the Space of twenty 
one Years, upon all Goods & Merchandize, either upon Importations 
thither or Exportation from thence into our Realm of England, or 
our Dominions; except only the five p Cent due for Custom upon 
such Goods as, after the said seven Years shall be expired, shall be 
imported into England or any of our Dominions, which five p Cent 
being paid, it shall be lawful! to export the same into foreign Parts, 
without any other Duty, provided such Goods be shipped within 
thirteen Months, after first landing in any Part of said Dominions. 
When any Custom or Subsidy shall be due, according to the Limita- 
tion aforesaid, the Officers of the Customs shall allow six Months 
Time for the Payment of one half of the same!' 13 

This Extract, from the original Charter of the Massachusetts 
Colonization, will best explain the Validity or Insufficiency of the 
present Pleas for their Rebellion; & upon the Encouragement of this 
Charter the Emigration was made. 

About this Time, the ecclesiastical Powers held the Reins of their 
Government rather tighter than was agreeable to the Temper of an 

13 These quotations are a loose rendition of the pertinent provisions of the charter. 
Oliver's date is correct. The Charters and General Laws of the Colony and Province 
of Massachusetts Bay (Boston, 1814), pp. 1-17. 

English Animal. In June 1628 Dr. William Laud was translated to 
the See of London. 14 Fie had been used to ride with a Curb; & rode 
so long with it, 'till the Animal grew so very hard mouthed as to 
throw his Rider. Dr. Laud was a learned & pious Prelate; but neither 
his Learning or Piety could divest him of human Passions. The be- 
forementioned Fondness for Superiority, inherent in Mankind, he 
thought, gave him, as it really did, as just a Right to the Papal Chair 
of England, as Urban had to that of Rome: hence he was off his 
Guard, & as there is no surer Way of propagating a Cause, especially 
a Religious Cause, than with the Scourge of Persecution; so some 
Severities that leaned this Way drove many out of the Kingdom; 
most of whom embarqued for the Massachusetts Bay, as an Asylum 
for enjoying their own Tenets, & for the Priviledge of taking their 
Trick at the Helm of Persecution. A Man of a warm Heart & a cool 
Head is to be urged with the Weapons of Reason only; & a red hot 
Zealot, without understanding, is to be attacked with Ridicule, or 
to be suffered to run himself out of Breath. From the ecclesiastical 
Severities exercised by Dr. Laud, he may be justly honoured as the 
Founder of Massachusetts Colony. For as the Blood of Martyrs is 
usually termed, the Seed of the Church; so those Severities served 
but as the Implements of Husbandry, to convert the Neiv England 
Wilderness into a fruitfull Field; for, in a very few Years, several 
thousands transported themselves to the last mentioned Colony. 

Before these new Emigrants embarked for the Massachusetts, they 
thought it necessary, as Religion was the ostensible Cause of their 
Emigration, (& Religion doubtless was the real Cause that swayed 
the Minds of many of them) they procured several Nonconformist 
Ministers to embark with them. Unhappily for them, they did not 
pitch on Men whose Sentiments of Church Government were in 
Unison; hence, they very soon ran into Divisions, by which Means 
new Emigrations were made; which occasioned the Settlements of 
Connecticut & Rhode Island Colonies. Among their Ministers there 
was one, whose black Coat, alone, could pass him under that De- 
nomination. His name was Blackstone.^ 5 Nature had formed him 
for a Carman, but he had thwarted her Intention, for he removed 

14 William Laud (1573-1645), Anglo-Roman in religious philosophy, became bishop 
of London in 1628 and archbishop of Canterbury in 1633. He was responsible for a 
religious policy that drove large numbers of Puritans into exile. 

15 William Blackstone (1596-1675), who arrived in Massachusetts in the 1620*8, was 
the first settler of Shawmut peninsula. Unable to harmonize his ideas with the Puritans, 
he went to Rhode Island. 

from Salem where the Settlers had first landed, to a Peninsula called 
Sh&wmut, about 20 Miles Distance, afterwards called Boston. Here 
he rode on a Bull, preached at some Times, & at other Times 
ploughed his Ground by drawing his Plough by his own bodily 
Strength; & perhaps cultivated his own Vineyard to as great Profit 
as he did that of his Master's. 

Amongst those who embarked in this Expedition were two Gen- 
tlemen of distinguished Note, vizt. John Winthrop & Thomas Dud- 
ley Esqrs., both of them descended from Families of high Rank. 
Mr. Winthrop was a Gentleman of Sense, of Virtue, & of an Estate 
of 700- p Annum. He was chosen Governor or Deputy Governor 
for 20 Years, with an Interruption of 3 Elections only, untill his 
Death in 1649. He spent his Estate in the Service of the Colony; 
but, like many others, who sacrifice all to the publick Welfare, met 
with publick Ingratitude; which is not peculiar to any Nation, & 
from which Athens alone seems to have been exempt, which Gov- 
ernment would not suffer even an old Horse to be treated ill by 
that accursed Vice. 16 Mr. Winthrop was ill used, upon some trifling 
Difference in religious Opinion; but his Sense & his Virtue vindi- 
cated him thoroughly. 

In April 162$^ about 2000 Passengers embarked in 10 or 1 1 Ships: 
but, before they sailed, they published a Declaration, in Order to 
acquit theirselves from any Suspicion of a rigid Separation from the 
Church of England. As there is something very striking in this Dec- 
laration, considering how closely it was adhered to; & as it is a 
Record of very little Notoriety, and it happening to be in my Pos- 
session, I shall here insert it: it may be tedious, but I think it will be 
Instructive. 17 It runs thus 

"The humble Request of his Majesty's loyal Subjects, the Gov- 
ernor and Company late gone for New England. 

"To the rest of their Brethren, in & of the Church of England. For 
the obtaining of their Prayers, & the Removal of Suspicions & Mis- 
constructions of their Intentions. 

"Reverend Fathers & Brethren! 

"The general Rumor of this solemn Enterprize, wherein our 

16 John Winthrop (1588-1649), the son of a Suffolk landowner, was governor of 
Massachusetts for most of the years from his arrival in 1630 until his death. Oliver was 
referring to his own sacrifice in serving the public. He believed that he had sacrificed 
estate and health for the public good. 

17 This document was taken from Hutchinson's papers. See History of . . . Massa- 
chusetts-Bay, I, 408-409. 

selves, with others, through the Providence of the Almighty, are 
engaged; as it may spare us the Labor of imparting our Occasion 
unto You, so it gives us the more Encouragement to strengthen our 
Selves by the Procurement of the Prayers & Blessings of the Lord's 
faithfull Servants; for which End, we are bold to have Recourse 
unto You, as those whom GOD hath placed nearest his Throne of 
Mercy; which as it affords You the more Opportunity, so it im- 
poseth the greater Bond upon You to interceed for his People in all 
their Streights. We beseech You therefore, by the Mercies of the 
LORD JESUS, to consider us as your Brethren, standing in very great 
Need of your Help, & earnestly imploring it. And howsoever your 
Charity may have met with some Occasion of Discouragement, 
through the Misreport of our Intentions, or through ye. Disaffec- 
tion or Indiscretion of some of us, or rather amongst us; for we are 
not of those that dream of Perfection in this World; yet we desire 
you would be pleased to take Notice of the Principals & Body of 
our Company, as those who esteem it our Honor, to call the Church 
of England, from whom we rise, our dear Mother, & cannot part 
from our Native Country, where she especially resideth, without 
much Sadness of Heart, & many Tears in our Eyes; ever acknowl- 
edging that such Hope & Part as we have obtained in the common 
Salvation, we have recieved in her Bosom, & sucked it from her 
Breasts. We leave it not therefore, as loathing that Milk wherewith 
we were once nourished there, but blessing GOD for the Parentage 
& Education, as Members of the same Body, shall always rejoice in 
her Good, & unfeignedly grieve for any Sorrow shall ever betide 
her; & while we have Breath, sincerely desire & endeavour the Con- 
tinuance & Abundance of her Wei-fare, with the Enlargment of her 
Bounds in the Kingdom of Christ Jesus" 

"Be pleased, therefore, Reverend Fathers & Brethren! to help 
forward this Work now in Hand; which, if it prosper, you shall be 
the more glorious. Howsoever, your Judgment is with the Lord, & 
your Reward with your GOD. It is an usual & laudable Exercise of your 
Charity, to recommend to the Prayers of your Congregations the 
Necessity & straights of your private Neighbours. Do the like for a 
Church springing out of your own Bowels. We concieve much Hope 
that this Remembrance of us, if it be frequent & fervent, will be a 
most prosperous Gale in our Sails, & provide such a Passage & Wel- 
come for us, from the GOD of the whole Earth, as both we which 
shall find it, & your selves, with the rest of our Friends, who shall 
hear of it, shall be much enlarged to bring in such daily Returns of 

Thanksgivings, as the Specialties of his Providence & Goodness may 
justly challenge at all our Hands. You are not ignorant, that the Spirit 
of GOD stirred up the Apostle Paul to make a continual Mention of 
the Church of Philippi (which was a Colony from Rome) let the 
same Spirit, we beseech you, put you in Mind, that are the" Lord's 8 
Remembrancers, to pray for us without ceasing (who are a weak 
Colony from your Selves) making continual Request for us to GOD 
in all your Prayers." 

u What we intreat of you that are the Ministers of GOD, that we 
also crave at the Hands of all the rest of our Brethren, that they 
would at no Time forget us in their private Solicitations at the 
Throne of Grace!' 

"If any there be, who through Want of clear Intelligence of our 
Course, or Tenderness of Affection towards us, cannot concieve so 
much of our Way as we could desire; we would intreat such not to 
despise us, nor to desert us in their Prayers & Affections; but to con- 
sider rather, that they are so much the more to express the Bowels of 
their Compassion towards us, remembring alway that both Nature 
& Grace doth ever bid us to relieve & rescue, with our utmost & 
speediest Power, such as are dear unto us, when we concieve them 
to be running uncomfortable hazards!' 

"What Goodness you shall extend to us, in this or [any] other 
Christian Kindness we your Brethren in CHRIST JESUS shall labor to 
repay in what Duty we are or shall be, able to Perform; promising, 
so far as GOD shall enable us, to give him no Rest on your behalf es, 
wishing our Heads & Hearts may be Fountains of Tears for your 
everlasting Welfare, when we shall be in our poor Cottages in the 
Wilderness, overshadowed with the Spirit of Supplication, through 
the Manifold Necessities & Tribulations which may not altogether 
unexpectedly, nor, we hope unprofitably befall us. And so com- 
mending you to the Grace of GOD in CHRIST we shall ever rest 

Your assured Friends & Brethren 

John Winthrop Governor 
Charles Fines 
Richard Salstonstall 

From Yarmouth Isaac Johnson 

aboard the Thomas Dudley 

Arabella William Coddington 

April yth. 1630. George Phillips &c. 


After such an applausive Declaration, in Favor of the Established 
Church of England, & so solemn an Appeal to the GOD of Heaven 
for the Sincerity of their Intentions, it would be injurious to suspect 
their Integrity, had not their consequent Behaviour evidenced their 
Wrongness of Conduct. For when they arrived at their first Port, 
Salem, they soon began to differ among themselves about the Mode 
of Church Government, which they intermixed with their civil Gov- 
ernment; & they soon forgot their dear Mother, the Church of Eng- 
land, whose Hope & Tart web. they had obtained in the Common 
Salvation, they had recieved in her bosom and sucked -from her 
Breasts-, & formed themselves into independent & congregational 
Churches, leaving their dear Mother to fight her own Battles in their 
native Country. And so unnatural were they, that in 3 or 4 Months 
after their Arrival, & when they had formed themselves into a Gov- 
ernment, they enacted Qualifications for Freemen to vote for Mag- 
istrates; one of which was, that no one should be a Voter unless he 
were a Member of their Church, hereby excluding all of the estab- 
lished Church from this so natural Priviledge. And this Prejudice was 
so strongly riveted in their Successors, that I question whether a 
Church of England Man was even chosen an Assistant, Councellor, 
or a Member of the general Assembly, for above an hundred Years 

But the Surprize will lessen, when it is considered, that they car- 
ried over with them several Ministers, 18 some of whom were very 

18 At this point the following harsh account of Hugh Peter was apparently added to 
the manuscript by the copyist: "Amongst others, who went to New England, was the 
infamous Hugh Peters, who was tried in the Year 1660, for High Treason in the 
Murder of King Charles the first; he was an itinerant Preacher & resided chiefly at 
Salem, about 20 Miles from Boston. It was proved, on his Trial, that he was (by his 
own Confession) sent by the New Englanders to old England in Order to foment 
the Rebellion in England & introduce a Common Wealth; & there met with this 
Reward of his Temerit[y], an Halter. 

"The Prefacer of the Trial of the Regicides makes these Remarks, vizt. 

" ''Hugh Peters was the most notorious Incendiary of the Rebels. He was a mere 
Epicure, a Swine in his Morals, & a false Prophet in his Doctrine. It is reported, that, 
at the Time of his Execution, he was in great Amazement & Confusion, sitting upon 
the Hurdle Like a Sot all the Way he went, & either plucking the Straws or gnawing 
the Fingers of his Gloves. He ascended the Ladder, not like a Minister, but like some 
ignorant Atheist, not knowing what to say or how to carry himself. After he had 
stood stupidly for a while, he put his Hand before his Eyes & prayed for a short Time, 
& at last very unwillingly he was turned of! the Ladder! " See Raymond Phineas 
Stearns, The Strenuous Puritan: Hugh Peter 1598-1660 (Urbana, III, 1954), pp. 418- 

weak, though pious Men, & others who had suffered by a too rough 
handling from the rigid Measures of the established Church at home, 
& who now thought it came to their Turn to make Retaliation, 
which they judged necessary to take Time by the Forelock in 
making; & it must be acknowledged, that they were not negligent in 
doing this which they esteemed the Work of the Lord. For as they 
generally formed their Code of Laws from the Jewish Institutes, so, 
that Section of it, vizt: "cursed is he that doeth the Work of the Lord 
negligently" was too legible to be passed unnoticed & as the Clergy 
had the greatest Influence then in the publick Transactions, which 
their Successors inherit to this Day in the amplest Manner; little else 
could be expected from Minds incapable of behaving decently under 
such a Plenitude of Power. Another Circumstance might, possibly, 
& probably too, if we may judge of their subsequent Conduct, actu- 
ate their Minds; vizt., that they were three thousand Miles distant, 
across an infrequented Ocean, & it could not enter into their Heads 
that an English, Church or State Scourge, could be made of such a 
Length as to reach them. The procul a Jove, procul a Fulmine 
seemed to be a prevailing Maxim with some of them, as it has been 
professedly so with their Descendents in the present ungrateful 

The following Instance of which may be adduced. A Mr. Roger 
Williams, a Clergyman of Sense, but who suffered his Understanding 
to be carried down the Torrent of Enthusiasm, had insinuated an 
Opinion of his Piety into the Minds of many weak People. He had 
lived in the Colony of Plimouth, but was of so restless a Constitution 
that he seemed always to labor under the Hectick of Enthusiasm; 
which at last hurried him into a Banishment from the Massachusetts. 
One of his Disciples was Mr. Endicot, who had been their first Gov- 
ernor, & was now one of the Assistants, or Councellor. Mr. Endicot 
in 1634, in his great Fervor of Zeal, cut the Cross out of the military 
Ensign, as he took it to be a Relick of Antichrist, & this Exploit was 
favored by others of high Rank also. 20 But the Government fearing 
an Admonition from home for such an atrocious Offence, censured 
& degraded those who were concerned in this mad Freak, & ordered 
the Cross to be left, in the Ensign at the Castle-, & permitted the sev- 
eral military Companies to chuse their own Ensigns. In short, there 

19 "The farther away from Jove, the less the fear of his lightning!' 
20 John Endecott (ca. 1589-1665) and Roger Williams (1603-83) were friends, but 
there is doubt that Williams influenced Endecott to commit this rash deed. Ola Eliza- 
beth Winslow, Master Roger Williams (New York, 1957), pp. 114-117. 

was such an heterogeneous Mixture of religious Sects that the Va- 
garies of Enthusiasm had their full Scope; & it was carried to such 
a Length, that it was said, that some pious Zealots refused to Brew 
their Beer on Saturdays lest it should work on the Sabbath, in 
Defiance of the fourth Commandment. 

Boston was settled about the Years 7630 or 1631. It was so called, 
in Honor to the Revd. Mr. John Cotton, who was one of its Ministers, 
& had been Vicar of St. BotolpWs Church in Boston in Lincolnshire 
in England. Mr. Cotton was a Man of Learning, Piety & Modera- 
tion; & such Deference was paid to his Judgment; that he was con- 
sulted, with other Clergymen, in most of their civil Affairs. The 
Government found it necessary to have a Code of criminal Law; & 
it seemed quite necessary, for at the first Court the Grand Jury found 
above an hundred Bills of Presentment. Mr. Cotton was desired to 
draw up the System, but whether he thought that the Hardness of 
New England Men's Hearts equalled that of the Jews, or whether 
he imagined that the Wilderness of America had as just a Claim to a 
theocratick Government as the Land of Palestine, so it was, that he 
exhibited a Code copied, chiefly, from the Institutes of Moses: one 
of which Laws punished the Disobedience of a Son to a Father, after 
proper Admonitions, with Death; but this, with some others which 
were too severe, were rejected. 21 

The Division in religious Sentiments, wch. prevailed in this Gov- 
ernment, produced such Irregularities of Conduct as occasioned 
many Complaints to the King in Council; so that abt. the Year 1635 
his Majesty issued a Commission to Arch Bishop Laud & several 
others, to take Cognizance of the Complaints; & this commission is 
too evidential of the Strides which ye Arch Bishop was making to- 
wards arbitrary Power. The unhappy Monarch was influenced to 
sign it, & perhaps it was the most disgracefull Paper he ever affixed 
his Name to, it striking at the Foundation of the english Law. This 
Commission impow'red any five of those mentioned in it, to take full 
Cognizance of all Matters y civil & ecclesiastical-, & to punish by Im- 
prisonment; or by loss of Life or Member. This was really carrying 

21 Oliver's judgment about the Judicials was not uncommon in most writers from 
his time to the present. Most of the provisions were taken from many sources, though 
of course supported by biblical quotations. See Isabel Calder, "John Cotton's 'Moses 
His Judicials; " Publications of the Colonial Society of Massachusetts, XXVIII (1935), 
86-94; Edmund S. Morgan, The Puritan Dilemma: The Story of John Winthrop 
(Boston, 1958), pp. 166-173; George Lee Haskins, Law and Authority in Early Massa- 
chusetts: A Study in Tradition and Design (New York, 1960), pp. 124-126. 

the Matter further than it would bear, & had no other Effect than 
Irritating the People. 

Complaints against the Plantation being Continued, his Majesty, 
in 1638, revoked the Charter; but they refused to deliver it, & as- 
signed their Reasons of Refusal in an Address to him. At another 
Time, perhaps this Refusal would have been resented, but Rebellion 
in England began now to plume itself, & there was too much Work 
at home to pay any Attention to distant Colonies, which had now 
their full Swing at doing what was right in their own Eyes. And after 
that Catastrophe, which will ever disgrace the english Annals, there 
was too great a Sympathy of Soul between the Brethren of Old & of 
New England, for the latter to dread any Thing from the Govern- 
ment of the former. Indeed, their Principles so perfectly coincided, 
that a literary Correspondence was held between Oliver Cromwell 
& the before mentioned Mr. Cotton, & I have seen a Letter from the 
former, in his own handwriting, with this Expression, "pray Sir! 
whereabouts are we in the Revelations?" 22 Cromwell understood 
human Nature too well, not to feel the Warmth of their Attachment 
to his Republick; otherwise, his determined Temper would have 
made them feel as much of the Weight of his Authority, as Virginia 
& some of the English Islands in the West-Indies did; who, for their 
Allegiance to the royal Cause, had their Estates confiscated, by an 
Ordinance in 1650; but there was no Occasion for the Exertion of 
his Authority in this Plantation. 


Upon the Accession of King Charles 2d\ the Massachusetts Prov- 
ince, in December 1660, sent over an Address of Congratulation to 
him on this Occasion, in a scriptural Stile, which was answered in a 
most gracious Manner; & not long after, an Order was sent to them, 
that all Writs & Processes should be in his Majesty's Name, which 
'till then they had issued in their own Name; which they complied 
with. It seems, by such a Conduct, that they attempted to avail them- 
selves of as much Independence upon the Parent State as they dared 
to; & in another Instance they also assumed the royal Prerogative 
vizt. of coining Mony, which they coined at several Times, but it 
was all stamped, with 1652. 

22 The exchange of letters in [Hutchinson], A Collection of Original Papers . . . 
(Boston, 1769), pp. 233-237, is probably not that referred to by Oliver, although this 
work would have been available to him. 

When Charles 2d. came to the Throne, many of his Father's regl- 
cidal Judges quitted the Kingdom to avoid the Punishment of their 
Demerits. Some, who chose to go to Heaven in a Swing, stayed be- 
hind to enjoy the Halter. Three of them fled to New England as the 
safest Asylum, vizt. Colo. Dixwell, Colo. Whaley & Colo. Goffe. 2 * 
Orders were sent to New England to secure them the Massachu- 
setts issued a Proclamation to take them. It is prudent in most Cases 
to save Appearances, but perhaps there was no surer Cities of Refuge 
than these Colonies; for neither of them were arrested. Colo. Dix- 
well lived for several Years in Newhaven in Connecticut^ by the 
Name of Davis, & his Grave Stone was lately, if not now, standing 
in Newhaven Burying Yard, with the Letters /. D. inscribed upon it. 

Colo. Goffe fled to the Skirts of Northampton, about 120 Miles 
from Boston, & secreted himself for a long Time in a Cavern, & was 
known scarcely to any but to Mr. Russell the Minister of that Town, 
who furnished him with the Necessaries of Life. It seems that he was 
so fond of Life, that rather than take his Chance, with some of his 
Brethren Regicides, in the World at large, he chose to breath away 
a wearisome Existence in the lonely Hermitage of a dreary Wilder- 
ness. I have seen the Diary which he kept during his Retirement; but 
there seemed to be more of the Enthusiast in it than of the great Man. 
An Anecdote relative to Colo. Goffe may be a Curiosity. The In- 
dians frequently invaded the out Settlements of the Colonies; they 
appeared on the Skirts of Northampton. The Inhabitants went out 
armed against them. On their March, Colo. Goffe left his Cavern & 
joined them; he wore a large flapped Hat, white Locks, & a black 
Coat; the English thought him to be a Messenger from the other 
World; & the Indians took him for the Devil, whom they call Hob- 
bamocco, & fled at the Sight of him; & he retired to his Secrecy. 

In 1683 King Charles zd. sent Orders to the Massachusetts Bay, 
to surrender their Charter, there having been Complaints entred 
against the Colony for a Disregard to the Acts of Trade, Persecution 
of their fellow Christians &c. By Vote of generall Assembly a Sur- 
render was refused; in consequence of which a quo Warranto was 
entred in Chancery, Trinity Term 1 684; Judgment was entred, & the 
charter vacated. Their Agent in England wrote thus to the Gover- 

23 John Dixwell, Edward Whalley, and William Goffe. Oliver's account was prob- 
ably taken from Hutchinson, History of . . . Massachusetts-Bay, I, 185-187. Lemuel 
Aiken Welles, The Regicides in Connecticut, Tercentenary Commission of the State 
of Connecticut Committee on Historical Publications, No. 35 (New Haven, 1935). 
John DixwelTs assumed name was James Davids. 

nor & Council, in May 1685. "The Breaches assigned against You 
are as obvious as unanswerable; so that all the Service, your Council 
and Friends could have done you here, would have only served to 
deplore, not prevent that inevitable Loss. Instead of sending Let- 
ters of Attorney, the Colony sent only an Address to the King, with- 
out Colony Seal, or any Subscription per Order, therefore it was not 
presented! 7 


In King James 2d. Reign, 1686, Sr. Edmund Andros was sent over 
as their Governor; & he, with his Council, chiefly Strangers, exe- 
cuted James's tyrannick Orders so strictly, that Oppression now 
shifted Scales; so that 1689, on the bare Report of a Revolution in 
England, by the Way of Virginia, a grand Colony Mob appeared 
before the Fort where the Governor resided. He very prudently 
resigned, & he was confined on board Ship & sent to England happy 
for England that a Revolution existed, & very happy for the Actors 
in this Affair that the news was confirmed, otherwise the gloomy 
Mind of that unhappy Monarch would have brought upon the Stage 
a Tragedy which would not have suffered a dry Eye in the Theatre. 

In 1 69 1, they were favored with a New Charter from K. Wm. $d 
& Qu: Mary. Their Agent in England, Mr. Mather, as shrewd & as 
sensible a Man as any of the Massachusetts, in a great Measure had 
the modelling of it; but in about 20 Years they quarrelPd about the 
Meaning of some of its Clauses, which procured an Explanatory 
Charter from King George ist. Colo. Samuel Shute was their Gov- 
ernor in 17 1 6. 24 He was a worthy, good natured, inoffensive Man, 
& he told his Assembly Men, yt. he aimed at nothing great, only to 
live comfortably, & he would consent to their Acts. His Salary was 
about 300. Sterling; he asked but for abt 50 more; they refused 
him: upon which, in 1722, he went home with 7 Complaints; vizt. 
taking Possession of royal Masts cut into Logs; refusing the Gover- 
nors Negative of a Speaker; assuming a joint Authority in appoint- 
ing Fasts; adjourning themselves more than tivo Days at a time; dis- 
mantling Forts, & ordering the Guns & Stores into the Treasurers 
Custody; suspending military Officers e^ mulcting them of their Pay 
sending a Committee of their own to muster the King's Forces. 

24 Samuel Shute (1662-1742) served as governor of Massachusetts from 1716 until 
1727, though the last four years of his term were spent in England answering charges 
of the House of Representatives. His administration was troubled by one dispute upon 
another with the legislature. 

These Complaints Elisha Cooke Esqr., the Catiline of that ^Era, was 
sent to England to answer. 25 He renounced all but the zd. & 4th. 
Complaints, acknowledged the Errors of his Constituents, layed the 
Blame upon a former Assembly, & the whole was settled by the afore- 
mentioned explanatory Charter. Colo. Shute never returned to his 
Government, but was provided for in England by a Pension of 400. 
p Year. He was perfectly in the Right not to return, for they had at- 
tempted his Life; & it is not many Years since, that in one of the 
Apartments, in the Province House, where he generally resided, was 
to be seen the Hole where the Bullet entred, which sought his Life. 

If so good natured & inoffensive a Man as Colo. Shute could not 
sit easy in the Chair of this Government, what could others expect; 
who, as Governors, were to hold the Ballance to prevent the Power 
of the People from encroaching upon the royal Prerogative? And 
indeed, there was scarce a King's Governor, from that Time to the 
Year 1774, but who had a Task to perform which no wise Man could 
envy him for: Governor Burnet, they worried into his Grave; 26 
others, they were continually adding Fuel to the Flame of Conten- 
tion, which, like the Vestal Fire, they made it a Part of their Re- 
ligion to keep alive. Another Governor, they demolished his House, 
at the same Time most cruelly attempting to murder him & his 
Family: 27 & never could any Governor meet with tolerable Quarter 
from them, unless he threw himself into their Hands, wch. in the 
cool Hour of Reflection he was ashamed of; & even such a diminu- 
tive Conduct would not always protect him from Censure. 

I have been credibly informed, 20 Ifears ago, by an Assembly Man 
who was mostly concerned in the political Disputes that originated 

25 Elisha Cooke (1678-1737), the leader of Governor Shute's opposition, published 
a pamphlet, Mr. Cook's Just and Seasonable Vindication (Boston, 1720), in which 
he criticized British forest policies and the governor's part in enforcing them. For 
this he was elected speaker of the House of Representatives in 1720. Governor Shute 
retaliated by negating him and dissolving the house. He then represented the house 
in presenting a series of complaints against the governor to the British government. 
William Chauncey Fowler, "Local Law in Massachusetts . . . " New-England His- 
torical and Genealogical Register, XXV (1871), 351. 

26 William Burnet (1688-1729) was also worried into his grave by his adherence to 
British instructions, which forced him to accept a salary fixed at r,ooo sterling for 
the duration of his governorship instead of the annual grants. These instructions were 
considered a threat to legislative power. 

27 The governor mentioned here was a lieutenant governor, Thomas Hutchinson, 
whose home was destroyed by the Stamp Act riots of 1765. Edmund S. Morgan and 
Helen M. Morgan, The Stamp Act Crisis: Prologue to Revolution (Chapel Hill, N.C., 
1953), pp. 126-129. 

in Governors Shutes Administration; & were continued down to 
that -/Era, that the Tavern Expences of Committee Men, in those Dis- 
putes, amounted to 9000 Sterling; & I have heard a Gentleman, who 
was an Assembly Man in Colo. Shute's Time,, lament & curse the 
Day that he sided with Mr. Cooke in his Opposition. Unhappy it 
was for some of the Governors that they could not be supported in 
their Chairs, instead of being suffered to quit them & return to 
England: 2 * for although they were honorably acquitted from the 
popular Charges alleged against them, & perhaps provided for at 
home; yet it gave such a Stimulus to the Itch of complaining, that 
it was ever in the mouths of the Demagogues, that they could, when 
they pleased., remove any Governor -from his Post. And whilst that 
was their Opinion, there were enough of that Diabolical Genius to 
promote a Quarrell out of the prof oundest Peace. It is much to be 
deplored, that the Springs of the English Government too often 
lost of their Elasticity; which, perhaps, had they have been in many 
Cases wound up, would have had Force enough to have prevented 
the present Rebellion. 29 

I have done Sir! with my procatarctick Causes, which I believe you 
to be as glad to be rid of as I am. I have given You already some of 
their Effects: more you will meet with. You will be presented with 
such a Detail of Villainy in all its Forms, that it will require some 
Fortitude to meet the Shock. You will see Religion dressed up into 
a Stalkinghorse, to be skulked behind, that Vice might perpetrate 
its most atrocious Crimes, whilst it bore so fair a Front to mislead 
& decieve the World around. In short, you will see every Thing, 
sacred & profane, twisted into all Shapes to serve the Purposes of 
Rebellion; & Earth & Hell ransacked for Tools to work the Fabrick 
with. But not to anticipate. 

2S Oliver was probably thinking of Francis Bernard and Thomas Hutchinson as the 
two recent governors who had left the colony for quieter days in England. Thomas 
Pownall, whose three-year term of office was generally peaceful, also expressed dis- 
satisfaction over his relations with the legislature. 

29 It is strange that Oliver said nothing of the administrations of Jonathan Belcher 
and William Shirley, especially the dispute between Shirley and Belcher that brought 
Belcher's removal in 1741. See John A. Schutz, "Succession Politics in Massachusetts, 
1730-1741;' William and Mary Quarterly., 3rd Ser., XV (1958), 508-520. 


I shall, with all due Deference to those who have already given 
their Opinions upon the immediate Cause of this Rebellion, assign 
an earlier Date than that which hath been affixed to it. It is the Year 
1761 from whence I shall begin my Progress; for as I was intimate 
to the Transactions of that ./Era, so I imagine I can see a concatena- 
tion of Incidents, wch. conduced to the ushering in this memorable 
Event; which Time itself can never eif ace from the Records of New 
England perfidy. 

Towards the latter End of the Year 1760, Stephen Seawall, Esqr., 
Chief Justice of the Province of Massachusetts Bay, died. 1 As their 
are generally Candidates for such Posts, so one in particular vizt. 
James Otis Esqr. claimed the Palm; pleading the Merit of Age, long 
Practice at the Bar, & repeated Promises of a former Governor. 
Mr. Otis was one, who in the early Part of his Life, was by Trade a 
Cordwainer. 2 But as the People of the Province seem to be born with 
litigious Constitutions, so he had Shrewdness enough to take Ad- 
vantage of the general Foible, & work'd himself into a Pettifogger; 
which Profession he practised in, to the End of his Life. He had a 
certain Adroitness to captivate the Ear of Country Jurors, who were 
too commonly Drovers, Horse Jockies, & of other lower Classes in 
Life. He also, for many Years, had been a Member of the lower 
House of Assembly, too great an Ingredient of which Composition 
consisted of Innkeepers, Retailers, & yet more inferior Orders of 
Men. These he had a great Command of, & he ever took Care to 
mix the Chicane of the Lawyer with the busy Importance of the 
Assembly Man; by which Methods he acquired a considerable For- 
tune. Thus circumstanced, he put in his Claim to a Seat upon the 
Bench; his Son was a Lawyer of superior Genius to his Father. He 
was also a Member of the Assembly for the Town of Boston; & 
while the Appointment of a Judge was in Suspence, this Son, in the 

1 Stephen Sewall (1702-60) became chief justice in 1752 upon the death of Paul 
Dudley. Hutchinson was appointed SewalTs successor on Nov. 13, 1760. 

2 James Otis (1702-78), father of the patriot, served many years as an important 
member of the House of Representatives. He was a loyal member of the Shirley ad- 
ministration and thus associated with Thomas Hutchinson and the Olivers. 

Plenitude of his own Importance, swore, "that if his Father was not 
appointed a Justice of the superior Court; he would set the Province 
in a Flame if he died in the Attempt!' 3 

The People of the Province, in general, not coinciding with the 
Judgment which the Father had formed of his own Merit, & think- 
ing, that Integrity was an essential Qualification of a Judge, ex- 
pressed a jealous Fear of such an Appointment; the surviving Judges 
of the Bench also, not willing to have an Associate of such a Char- 
acter to seat with them, applied to Mr. Bernard, the then Govr., 
who had the Nomination to that Office, asking the Favor to have 
such a Colleague with them, that the Harmony of the Bench might 
not be interrupted; & accordingly proposed Mr. Hutchinson, the 
then Lieut. Governor of the Province; Mr. Bernard most readily 
acquiesced, & had already, before requested, determined on the Ap- 
pointment. Mr. Hutchinson was also applied to, by the Judges, to 
take a Seat with them; but he refused, 'till he could be informed of 
the general Sentiment; that was for him, & he was prevailed upon to 
accept the Office of Chief Justice: upon which the two Otis' s, the 
eldest of whom had for many Years before almost idolized him, now 
exerted theirselves, totis viribus* to revenge their Disappointment, 
in Mr. Hutchinson' } s Destruction. 

In all such Cases, Tools are as necessary in erasing as in erecting 
a Building; & as Destruction was vowed, so an Apparatus must be 
provided for the Purpose. Among other Tools, a Mr. Joseph Haw- 
ley, an Attorny at Law in the Country, was secured; 5 & although he 
had had, for many Years, an high Opinion of & been favored by Mr. 
Hutchinson, yet the evil Genius, which too often attended him & at 
this Time was too officious at his Levee, urged him on to such Rancor 

3 James Otis, Jr. (1725-83) , swore revenge against Hutchinson Hutchinson to Israel 
Williams, Jan. 21, 1761, Mass. Hist. Soc., Williams MSS, II, 155. In his History of . . . 
Massachusetts-Bay, III, 64, Hutchinson made this later comment on the significance 
of Otis' anger: "From so small a spark a great fire seems to have been kindled!' Otis 
denied ever making these threats and published a long explanation of the episode in 
the Boston Gazette, April 4, 1763. The belief that the revolution began with the Otis- 
Hutchinson feud is but one example of the parallel interpretations placed on the revo- 
lution by Oliver and John Adams. See the Adams letters to William Tudor in The 
Works of John Adams . . . , ed. Charles Francis Adams (Boston, 1850-56), X, 230- 
375 passim. 

*"With all one's might!' 

5 Joseph Hawley (1723-88) was a successful lawyer of Hampshire County, repre- 
senting such important Bostonians in western Massachusetts litigation as Thomas and 
John Hancock and John Rowe. His clients were more frequently the tradesmen and 
debtors of the county. 

& Enmity that Surprized his best Friends; & the only Reason which 
he assigned for his Enmity, was, that Mr. Hutchinson was too fond of 
Power, in suffering himself to be appointed a Chief Justice; & that 
he shewed too much Pride in wearing Robes on the Bench; which 
Robes he & the other Judges wore, in Compliance with the Desire of 
Gov. Bernard, who proposed the Dress in Honor of the Govern- 
ment. A disordered Oprick will swell a Molehill to the Bulk of a 
Mountain; This Mr. Hawley was also a Member of the general 

There was another Person called in to aid the Opposition, who 
was always ready to every evil Word & Work vizt. Mr. Samuel 
Adams, who hath distinguished himself throughout the present 

Mr. Otis, ye. Son, understanding the Foibles of human Nature, 
although he did not always practise upon that Theory, advanced one 
shrewd Position, which seldom fails to promote popular Commo- 
tions, vizt. that it was necessary to secure the black Regiment, these 
were his Words, & his Meaning was to engage ye. dissenting Clergy 
on his Side. He had laid it down as a Maxim, in nomine Domini in- 
cipit omne malum; & where better could he fly for aid than to the 
Horns of the Altar? & this Order of Men might, in a literal Sense, 
be stiled such, for like their Predecessors of 1641 they have been 
unceasingly sounding the %11 of Rebellion in the Ears of an ignorant 
& deluded People. 

As I have introduced several Persons of the Drama, I shall begin 
to comply with the Promise I made, at first setting out, of giving a 
Sketch of their Portraits; those who have now offered to sit I shall 
begin with; the rest will be taken in their Turns. Perhaps these 
Sketches may throw some Light on the more interesting Scenes. I 
shall begin with the late Govr. Hutchinson. 


Mr. Hutchinson was a Gentleman on whom Nature had con- 
ferred, what she is very sparing of, an Acumen of Genius united 
with a Solidity of Judgment & great Regularity of Manners. 6 He 
descended from Ancestors who conferred Honor on the Roll of 
Magistracy in the Colony & ye. Province of the Massachusetts Bay- 
so early as at 12 Ifears of Age he was matriculated into Harvard 
College in Cambridge, & here he bore the Palm of classick Learning. 

6 See Malcolm Freiberg, "Thomas Hutchinson: The First Fifty Years (1711-1761)" 
William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd Ser., XV (1958) , 41-42. 

After he had been graduated, he quitted a Collegiate Life, & trod 
the mercantile Walk; & his Steps were directed by fairness and 
Punctuality in Dealing & with Success in his Schemes. As his An- 
cestors had been so much in publick Life, so Mr. Hutchinson had 
derived great Advantages from both publick and private Papers in 
their Possession, wch. served him for many valuable Purposes in 
publick Life, and especially in compiling the best History of the 
Massachusetts Bay that hath been published; a Continuation of 
which, to the breaking out of the present Rebellion he left prepared 
for the Press; a Publication of which would be a valuable Present to 
the Publick, as it would be a Register of Facts, which neither the 
Talent of historick Writing, or Truth itself would blush to Patronize. 
Mr. Hutchinson' } s Ancestors in their political Principles, were no 
Friends to Democracy; & he himself judged it necessary to support 
the Prerogative, that it might hold the ballance of Power in such 
Equilibrio, that it might not sink into Republicanism, upon the 
Verge of which many of the colonial Systems of Government were 
erected. Notwithstanding his Sentiments upon Government were 
universally known, yet his Candor, Integrity, & Capacity were so 
well established, that he very early caught the publick Eye; and the 
Town of Boston, his native Place, elected him into Offices for the 
Defence of her legal Rights, which he was unweariedly assiduous 
in protecting; & in some Instances, distinguish [ab]ly so from his 
Brethren Assistants in the same Causes, Boston very early chose him 
as one of her Representatives in general Assembly. The lower House 
of Assembly soon chose him to be their Speaker, in which Station 
he shone distinguished, as having filled the Chair with as much 
Honor & Dignity as it ever had been adorned with. Both Houses 
of Assembly then chose him into his Majesty's Council; from wch. 
he was dismissed, (by that Faction which hurried on the present 
Rebellion) in 1766; when he ended his political Life, as far as it 
depended upon the Sufferages of the People. During his last men- 
tioned political Existence, in all Difficulties of State & Contests with 
neighbouring Governments the People of the Province repaired to 
him, with as much Avidity as the People of Greece repaired to the 
Oracle at Delphi in their Emergencies; but Mr. Hutchinson was so 
void of Duplicity of Soul, that he, unlike to the Priestess of Apollo., 
never returned an ambiguous Answer. They had employed him as 
their Agent in England on some important Services, & he did not 
deceive them; & after all his important Services he never reaped 
any lucrative Advantages for his private Fortune; but this was not 

to be wondred at, for it had been the uninterrupted Series of Grati- 
tude, in this Government, to bestow upon its Benefactors only the 
pleasing Consolation of serving their Country without reward. Nay, 
when in the Year 1765 the Demagogues of this Province had spurred 
on a Banditti to demolish his Dwelling House & plunder his Property 
from it, to hunt after his Life & the Lives of his Children, & to 
persecute him with unparrall[el]ed Barbarity, he, with a Mag- 
nanimity of Soul, rather to be admired than capable of being imi- 
tated, was inquisitive what he had done to demerit such Cruelty; & 
pitied his Enemies: a conscious Rectitude of Soul, only, could sup- 
port him under such Malevolence. 7 

Not long after, a Contest arose between the Massachusetts & New 
York Governments relative to their Boundaries, & Mr. Hutchinson 
was applied to by the general Assembly to undertake the Task of 
one [of] their Commissioners (in 1773); for here again, none under- 
stood the Nature of the Contest so well as he did. He went, & settled 
it beyond their Expectations. On his Return, provincial Ingratitude 
was so much their Characteris[tic]k, that they would not deign to 
thank him for his Services; but, on the other Hand, were then 
plotting to petition his Majesty to remove him from his Government 
on Account of the Letters which were stole by Dr. Frankly n, & for 
which Mr. Hutchinson was so honorably acquitted. 

One singular Advantage he had derived to the Province, for which 
he merited the monumental Pillar, & for which the Blessings of those 
who were ready to perish came upon him, & which caused the 
Widows Heart to sing for Joy. Mr. Hutchinson had early studied 
the Nature of Mony, as a Medium of Commerce, & was a perfect 
Master of that Science, which to others, & men of Sense too, ap- 
peared as abstruse as the Disquisitions after the Philosopher's Stone; 
but to him were as simple as the first Rudiments of Grammar. This 
Advantage was a compleat Rescous from the Infatuation of a most 
infamous Paper Currency, which the Province had been bewildered 
in for nearly 60 Years; this Currency had been established on ac- 
count of the Canada Expedition in 1690, when six Shillings in Paper 
Bills could, by Law, command an Ounce of Silver; but the Province, 
enthusiastically imagining that the Possession of such a Power of 
making Paper Mony equal to the Possession of the Mines of Potosi, 
had made so many of those Emissions, by the Year 1745, that there 
was so great a Defalcation in the Value of the Paper Mony, that by 

7 The original description of Hutchinson's virtues seems to be in an article by 
"Verus" in the Boston Weekly News-Letter, May 16, 1771. 


the Year 1748, three Founds in those Bills, would command only 
one Ounce of Silver: & the Laws of the Province were so iniquitous, 
that the Persons, who had let Mony at Interest for many Years past, 
were obliged to submit to this Defalcation; by which Means, 
Widows, Orphans, Salary Men, & all Annuitants, were reduced to 
great Straits, & some to absolute Poverty. From future Evils of this 
Kind there was an Opening made for Extrication. The Parliament 
of Great Britain, in its great Liberality, reimbursed the Province the 
Sum of Mony which it had advanced in their Expedition to Cape 
Breton, & its Capture, 1745; the Mony was sent to them in 1749 in 
Spanish milled Dollars to the Amount of 183.649. Sterling. 

Such an Opportunity as this to be delivered from an Egyptian 
Bondage, might be reasonably imagined, would be eagerly em- 
braced; but the Infatuation of Attachment to the Garlick & Onions 
was so great, that many wished that the Mony had been sunk in the 
Ocean before its Arrival. Mr. Hutchinson's Sagacity, with Respect 
to the Finances of his Country, urged him to every Exertion, with 
his Connections, to secure his Country against every future Evil 
attendant upon a fallacious Paper Currency. He was so happy as to 
succeed; & the Province Medium was established on so solid a Basis, 
that its Reputation was raised to an higher Pitch of Justice than any 
other Colony upon the Continent; & for this publick Act of his, his 
Character was venerated by all who expressed a Regard for Justice 
& publick Faith. But even in his Exertions in performing so meri- 
torious an Act, interested Men set the Canaille to insult him; which 
they did in the most open Manner in the publick Streets, threatening 
him not only with Words but with Sticks; but his Virtue was of so 
confirmed a Texture, that he let the Insults pass unnoticed; untill 
Time had worn off the popular Frenzy, & he had lived to see many 
of those, who had insulted him with their Curses, follow him with 
their Blessings, for saving his Country from that Destruction which 
they madly endeavoured to plung[e] her into. 

Mr. Hutchinson not only has sustained many publick Offices, 
dependant upon the Suff erages of the People, but he was appointed 
by the Crown, in 1757, Lieut. Governor; & in 1771 Governor & 
Commander in Chief of the Province of the Massachusetts Bay. 8 In 
the former Station, the Space to exert his Abilities in was contracted, 
except in being consulted by the Commanders in chief, who re- 
spectively derived great Advantages from his Advice & Counsel in 

8 Hutchinson's commission as lieutenant governor was published June i, 1758. He 
took his oath as governor on March 14, 1771. 

all the arduous Affairs of Government, in the latter Stations, the 
Sequel will open his Conduct. 

He was also, where the Power of the Crown was united with the 
Nature of this provincial Legislature, appointed Judge of Probate 
for the County of Suffolk, the most important County of the Prov- 
ince; & afterwards, Chief Justice of the Province as also one of his 
Majesty's Council. As Judge of Probate he conciliated the Admira- 
tion, Esteem & Love of all who either repaired to him for Justice 
or appeared before him as Council for the litigant Parties. The 
Widow & the Orphan repaired to him as their Guardian, & the 
Doors of his Office, & his House also, were ever unlatched to their 
Petitions for Relief & Advice. His placid Temper & his invincible 
Patience seemed marked out by the GOD of Nature for the discharge 
of this most difficult Office, where Litigants appeared, who were 
uninstructed in all the Forms necessary to conduct their Cases, & 
too frequently carried them on with the Impertinence & Roughness 
of unpolished Nature; but his Decrees were given with so much 
legal judgment & undisguised Integrity, that the Lips of Envy & 
party Abuse were ever fast sealed against any Impeachment of his 
official Justice. This Office he discharged with peculiar Pleasure; 
for upon his once being asked by a Friend, "why he did not resign 
this very troublesome Office, since he sustained those of Lieut. Gov- 
ernor & Chief Justice, also, & as the Profits of it were very trifling?" 
His Reply was this, vizt. "it gives me so much Pleasure to relieve 
the Widow & fatherless, & direct them what Steps to take in man- 
aging their Estates; & also in reconciling contending Parties; that I 
would rather resign my other Offices, & discharge this alone without 
Fee or Reward!' 

In mentioning those three Offices, which Mr. Hutchinson sus- 
tained at the same Time, it may be noticed; that the Envy of Ambi- 
tion in some, & the Envy of Avarice in others, were roused at the 
Possession of so many by one Man. But let it be remembred, that 
the pecuniary Stipends of this Province, to their Servants, were 
similar, in profit, to the Wages of Sin, for no Man could get a Living 
by them; & those three united in Mr. Hutchinson, although each of 
them were as profitable as any other Office, did not afford him a 
decent Support for his Family. 

He was hailed to the Seat of Chief Justice with the Acclamations 
of the Province. 9 He had been, for several Years before, a Justice 

9 The statement is an exaggeration. Nearly every week the Boston Gazette in 1762 
and 1763 carried attacks on Hutchinson. 

of the inferior Court of Common Pleas for the County of Suffolk-, 
but this Department was so much a thoroughfare, only, to the 
Superior Court of the Judicature, that a Man might be allowed, 
almost, to spend a Life in this inferior Department, & at the Close of 
it crowd all the Knowledge which he had acquired in it into a Nut- 
shell. But Mr. Hutchinson, when he first filTd this important Seat, 
seemed to be all Intuition. The ablest Councellers at the Bar, & some 
very able ones there were, seemed astonished, & would often, when 
they were Antagonists in important Causes, & were divided in their 
Opinions in drawing a special Verdict, refer the Draft to him. When, 
in a few Minutes, he would return a legal one, to the Acceptance of 
both Parties. In this Office he preesided for ten Years, & it was the 
general Opinion, that as none of his Predecessors in Office excelled 
him in the Knowledge of the Law & in Uprightness of Judgment, 
so none of his Successors outrivalled him in the Science of Juris- 

In private Life, Mr. Hutchinson was the Scholar, without Ped- 
antryThe polite Gentleman, without Affectation the social Com- 
panion, without Reservedness affable, without the least Tincture 
of Pridein Commerce, undisguised & open in Morals, regular 
without Severity in Expression of his Sentiments, candid & void of 
Guile liberal in his Charity, without Ostentation or Partiality- 
amiable in domestick Life, distinguished by conjugal Fidelity & at- 
tention, parental Affection, & an humane, tender & condescending 
Behavior to his dependant Domesticks his Religion sat gracefull on 
his conduct; it was manly & free, undebased by Hypocrisy, En- 
thusiasm or Superstition; it embraced all Mankind. 

One Instance only shall be adduced, vizt. When the French Catho- 
licks were dispossessd of their Property in Nova Scotia, about 25 
years ago by the English Nation, (which could not be justified, but 
by the irresistible Principle of Necessity in Order to [aid] national 
Security) they were all dispersed among the English Colonies; those 
that were stationed in the Massachusetts Province, hearing of Mr. 
Hutchinsons Humanity, frequently resorted to him as their Guard- 
ian, & were never disappointed in their Expectations of Advice or 
Relief; some of them he took under his more immediate Care; for 
he pitied the fatal Necessity of their Distress; & many of them wor- 
shipped him almost as sincerely as they did their household Gods, 
their Crucifixes. In short, in all the various Departments of Life, he 
behaved with that Dignity which was ornamental to each of them; & 
when he left his native Country & retired to England, his Character 

was so fully established, that he was particularly noticed by the great- 
est Men in the Kingdom; & by his Majesty himself, who was too 
sensible of the Merits of his Service, not to distinguish him by par- 
ticular Marks of his royal Favor. 

I might have mentioned the Character he sustained as one of his 
Majesty s Council for about seventeen Years (from 1749 to 1766). 
This Office was in the Election of the People, with the Salvo of the 
Governors negative; but here he held the Ballance so nicely, that he 
was the instar omnium of that Order; 10 his Judgment was too dis- 
tinctive, not to vail their Opinions, in important Cases, to his thor- 
ough Knowledge of the political System of their Country; & here 
he continued, untill Rebellion began its gigantick Strides to tread 
down Government itself. 

After 7 years Residence in England > from the Transition from a 
very active to an almost inactive Life; from a Reflection on the 
Miseries of his native Country, & from a Combination of other 
Causes, he sunk into a chronical Disorder which hurried him out of 
Life, though at a late Age; & he made his Exit suddenly; but such an 
Exit which every wise Man would wish to make; not being appalled 
by the Fear of Death, or having one retrospect uneasy Reflection 
upon his Conduct, to create such a Fear. 

Perhaps Sir! you will ask me why I have been so diffuse upon 
Mr. Hutchinson's Character? Let me tell you then, that the Dis- 
tinction of Applause which attended him, roused the Envy & Malice 
of the Leaders of the Faction, who dipped their shafts in more than 
infernal Gall, & made him the Butt to level them at. He exerted 
every Nerve to save his Country; they were determined to ruin 
him, tho' they plunged their Country & theirselves too, into absolute 
Destruction. It vexed them to find an Antagonist who was superior 
to them, with their united Understanding; but I will relieve you by 
several Contrasts; in which you will see human Nature in her various 
Attitudes, & you may then judge, whether to dwell upon her Beauties 
or Deformities is the most agreeable. 


The first Character of the Contrast which I shall exhibit will be 
young Mr. Otis, as he was the first who broke down the Barriers of 
Government to let in the Hydra of Rebellion; agreeable to the 

10 "Equal to all the others" Cicero's comment on Plato. 

already mentioned Stygian Oath which he had taken, of "setting 
the Province in a Flame!' 11 

Mr. Otis was designed, by Nature, for a Genius; but it seemed 
as if, by the Impetuosity of his Passions, he had wrested himself out 
of her Hands before she had complemented her Work; for his Life 
seemed to be all Eccentricity. He passed through a Collegiate Edu- 
cation, & then entred upon the Study of the Law under a Gentle- 
man who was at the Head of that Profession. 12 But his Education 
was of little or no Service to the World or to himself. He studied the 
Law, under his Preceptor, with great Attention; he made great 
Progress in it, & would have been of distinguishing Figure in it had 
he not have mistaken a contemptuous Pride for a laudable Ambition; 
& given too loose a Rein to the Wildness of his Passion. He seemed 
to have adopted that Maxim which Milton puts into the Mouth of 
one of his Devils, vizt. 

"Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven!' 13 
And his whole Life seemed to be a Comment on his Text. He 
carried his Malevolence to so great Length, that being often thwarted 
in his Opposition to Government, he took to the Course of Dram 
drinking, & ruined his Family, with an amiable Wife at the Head of 
it, who had brought him a Fortune, & who, by his bad Conduct, 
became disordered in her Mind happy had it been for his Country, 
had he urged on his own Ruin, before he had brought on hers. 14 By 
drinking, & other Misconduct, he grew so frantick, that he was 
frequently under the Guardianship of the Law, & confined; & the 
last I heard of him was, that he seemed to be a living Monument of 
the Justice of Heaven, by his being a miserable Vagabond, rolling 
in the Streets & Gutters, the laughing-Stock of Boys & the Song of 
the Drunkard. Even in his best Estate, he was indelicate in his Man- 

1:t The use of the word "Hydra" to describe the growing discontent was a common 
figure of speech. See Boston Evening-Post, Dec. 12, 1774: "When once despotism, a 
dreadful Hydra, dispensing more curses than ever issued from Pondora's box, with 
gygantic strides begins to stalk, the blessings of liberty are all on tip-toe!' 

12 Jeremiah Gridley (1702-67) had such law students as James Otis, Oxenbridge 
Thacher, Benjamin Prat, and William Gushing. He represented the crown in the 
Superior Court battle over the Writs of Assistance. See Sibley's Harvard Graduates, 
VII (1945), 518-530. 

^Paradise Lost, in The Poetical Works of John Milton, ed. Helen Darbishire (Ox- 
ford, 1952-55), I, Bk. 1, 12, L 263. 

14 John Adams in 1765 described James Otis as "fiery and feverous; his imagination 
flames, his passions blaze; he is liable to great inequalities of temper; sometimes in 
despondency, sometimes in a rage!' Works, II, 163. 

nets, & rough In his Conversation. 15 He was devoid of all Principle; 
& would, as a Lawyer, take Fees on both Sides, in which he had 
been detected in open Court. 


Joseph Haivley Esqr. is the next whose Turn it is to sit for his 
Portrait. He was educated at Yale College in Connecticut. He was 
a Man of Sense & Learning, & unhappily for himself he was too 
sensible of it. He practised the Law with Reputation, had sustained 
several publick Offices, & been often a Member of the House of 
Representatives. He had been, 'rill the Year 1760, a most firm Friend 
to Government, & a great Friend to Mr. Hutchinson in his private 
as well as his publick Station. At this Period, Mr. Haiuley, for 
the aforementioned Reasons given by himself & from the Insinua- 
tions of Mr. Otis & his Adherents, turned inimical to Mr. Hutchin- 
son & the Government. And from the general good Character of 
Integrity which he wore, he, like the red Dragon of the Revelation, 
drew a third part of the Stars of Heaven after him. And he carried 
his Enmity so far, that, not content with libelling Mr. Hutchinson 
personally, he libelled the whole Supreme Court of Justice where 
he preesided; for which, the only Punishment he recieved, & that 
owing to the too great Moderation of the Chief Justice, was, a dis- 
mission from the Bar, untill he found his interest suffer by it, when 
he was admitted again as a Barrister, upon the Confession of his 
Offence in open Court, by a Writing upon the Records of the 
Court. 16 He had obtained the Character of a Man of Piety & Virtue 
by a formal, decent Behaviour; Formality in Religion being the 
provincial Characteristick, & peculiarly so of the County of Ham- 
shire, where he resided. But his Religion was something problem- 
atical; which a few Instances may evince. The first shall be of the 
droll & serious Kind, united, vizt. being in the military Line, he 
some years since was ordered to command a Party after a Number 
of Indians. He set out on his Expedition & discovered the Enemy 
at a Distance; but in the Heigth of his Fear or his Zeal (some say 
one, some say the other) he purposed the singing an Hymn before 

15 In 1771 John Adams noted (Works, II, 290) that Otis "was quite wild at the bar 
meeting; cursed the servants for not putting four candles on the table, swore he could 
yet afford to have four upon his own. . . !' 

16 Hawley criticized Hutchinson's judicial opinion by writing letters to the Boston 
Evening-Post and was punished with disbarment. Ernest Francis Brown, Joseph How- 
ley; Colonial Radical (New York, 1931) , pp. 64-68. 


the Attack; & as the more Noise the more Devotion, so the Hymr 
was sung with that audible Voice which reached the Ears of y< 
Indians & put them to Flight, thus 

He liv'd to fight another Day 
Without being f orc'd to run away. 17 

The next Instance is this. He lived in the Town of Northampton 
& in the Parish, of which the Revd. Mr. Jona. Edwards y the famoui 
Metaphysician, so much noticed by Lord Kaims, was Minister. 18 He 
entered upon a religious Altercation with Mr. Edwards-, & by hi: 
Influence ousted Mr. Edwards, with a large Family, of their Living 
Afterwards, his religious controversial Zeal subsided into a religion* 
Melancholy; & in the Depths of it he made a publick Confession, ir 
the News Papers, of the Injury he had done to Mr. Edwards, 8 
ask'd Pardon. But whether he ever made Restitution in any othej 
Way, the World is silent. 

A Third Instance shall be what was related to me by a Gentlemar 
of Reputation. Mr. Hawley & he were appointed by the Govern- 
ment, on a Tour of publick Services; at that Time Mr. Hawley wai 
in his Fits of Enthusiasm, & would by no means omit Morning & 
Evening Prayers at every Inn where they lodged. But not long 
after, upon another like Tour, he was taken with a Fit of Deism, & 
then the Prayers were not only omitted but ridiculed; thus versatile 
was he. 

He had his full Share of the Hauteur, & a Stubbornness of Tempei 
which was harder to bend than the knotted Oak. His Disposition 
was such, that like Dry den's Duke of Buckingham, he was 

So over violent or over civil 

That every Man with him was God or Devil. 19 

Such a Character as this it was dangerous to trust to; & the surest 
Method to secure him, was to sooth his Pride, for here he was sensi- 
ble. But let me apologize for him, & throw a Vail over his Infirmities. 

17 James Ray, A Compleat History of the Rebellion (York, 1,749) > P- 54 : 

He that fights and runs away, 
May turn and fight another Day. 

18 [Henry Home, Lord Kames], Essays on the Principles of Morality and Natural 
Religion, ind ed. (London, 1758), pp. 170-173. See also Jonathan Edwards, Freedorn 
of the Will, ed. Paul Ramsey, in The Works of Jonathan Edwards, I (New Haven, 


19 John Dryden, "Absalom and Achitophel? The Works of John Dryden y ed. George 
Saintsbury (Edinburgh, 1882-93), IX, 260, 11. 557-558. 

which have brought on or rather promoted the many Evils which his 
Country now groans under; by saying, that he was so unfortunate 
as to have a very irritable Set of Nerves, which brought on hyp [o] - 
condriack Disorders. When he was under the Influence of those 
Disorders, he was often insane & would return to his Clients Fees 
which he had recieved from them, which he then would call ex- 
orbitant, although he was generally known to be moderate in his 
Demands from them: he was very unhappy in this constitutional 
Disorder, & the last Account of him, was, that he was confined 
under the Effects of them, an Object of Commiseration. 20 


I shall next give you a Sketch of some of Mr. Samuel Adam^s 
Features; & I do not know how to delineate them stronger, than by 
the Observation made by a celebrated Painter in America, vizt. 
"That if he wished to draw the Picture of the Devil, that he would 
get Sam Adams to sit for him:" & indeed, a very ordinary Physi- 
ognomist would, at a transient View of his Countenance, develope 
the Malignity of his Heart. He was a Person of Understanding, but 
it was discoverable rather by a Shrewdness than Solidity of Judg- 
ment; & he understood human Nature, in low life, so well, that he 
could turn the Minds of the great Vulgar as well as the small into 
any Course that he might chuse; perhaps he was a singular Instance 
in this Kind; & he never failed of employing his Abilities to the 
vilest Purposes. He was educated at Harvard College-, and when he 
quitted that Scene of Life, he entered upon the Business of a Malster, 
the Profits of which afforded him but a moderate Maintenance; & 
his Circumstances were too well known for him to gain a pecuniary 
Credit with Mankind. 21 

He was so thorough a Machiavilim, that he divested himself of 
every worthy Principle, & would stick at no Crime to accomplish 
his Ends. He was chosen a Collector of Taxes for the Town of 
Boston; but when the Day of Account came, it was found that there 
was a Defalcation of about 1700. Sterling. He was apprized of it 
long before, & formed his Plans accordinglyhe knew the Temper 
of the Town of Boston, that the most Part of them were inclined to 

20 Hawley suffered from chronic ill health, in which spells of melancholy would 
disrupt his work and nearly incapacitate him. Finally, in 1776, he was forced to retire 
to Northampton. Brown, Joseph Haivley, p. 170. 

21 John C. Miller, Sam Adeems: Pioneer in Propaganda (Boston, 1936), pp. 4-10; 
Sibley's Harvard Graduates, X (1958) , 420-425. 


Opposition of Government, and he secured an Interest with them. 
This he did, by ingratiating himself with John Hancock Esqr., a 
considerable Merchant of that Town, in the same Manner that the 
Devil is represented seducing Eve, by a constant whispering at his 

Here I am almost necessarily led into a Digression upon Mr. 
Hancock's Character, who was as closely attached to the hinder- 
most Part of Mr. Adams as the Rattles are affixed to the Tail of the 
Rattle Snake. Mr. Hancock was the Son of a dissenting Clergyman, 
whose Circumstances in Life were not above Mediocrity, but he 
had a rich Uncle. He was educated at Harvard College., was in- 
troduced into his uncles Warehouse as a Merchant, & upon his Death 
was the residuary Legatee of 60,000 Sterling. His understanding 
was of the Dwarf Size; but his Ambition, upon the Accession to so 
great an Estate, was upon the Gigantick. He was free from Im- 
moralities, & Objects of Charity often felt the Effects of his Riches. 
His Mind was a meer Tabula Rasa? 2 & had he met with a good Artist 
he would have enstamped upon it such Character as would have 
made him a most usefull Member of Society. But Mr. Adams who 
was restless in endeavors to disturb ye Peace of Society, & who was 
ever going about seeking whom he might devour, seized upon him 
as his Prey, & stamped such Lessons upon his Mind, as have not as 
yet been erased. Sometimes, indeed, by certain Efforts of Nature, 
which he was insensible of the Causes of his self, he would almost 
disengage himself from his Assailant; but Adams, like the Cuddle- 
fish, would discharge his muddy Liquid, & darken the Water to 
such an Hue, that the other was lost to his Way, & by his Tergiversa- 
tion in the Cloudy Vortex would again be seized, & at last secured. 
Mr. Hancock, in Order to figure away as a Merchant, entered 
deeply into Trade; but having no Genius for it, (by monopolizing 
& other Misfortunes, together with his Ambition for being a Poli- 
tician for which he was as little qualified as for a Merchant) he very 
soon reduced his Finances to a very low Ebb, & rendered it difficult 
for a Creditor to procure from him a small Ballance of Debt; & some 
Things he did, by reason of his distressed Circumstances, which 
were not compatible with the Rules of strict Justice. 23 Mr. Adams, 

22 This is a reference to Locke's concept of man's mental endowment at birth; hence 
Hancock had learned nothing. 

23 John Hancock (1737-93). William ^ Baxter agrees that Hancock had "no genius 
for it [business]!' The House of Hancock: Business in Boston 2724-1775 (Cambridge, 
Mass., 1945), p. xxii. 


after bringing him into such a Situation, could do no less than shove 
him up to the last Round of the Ladder, & he was praesldent of the 
american Congress. Here he was at the Summit of his Ambition; 
but he has descended so far as to be the Governor of Massachusetts 
Province; & if the British Government should succeed in subduing 
the Rebellion, it requires no second Sight to foresee, that whereas 
he was once vain, that he would then be less than nothing & Vanity 

I here Drop my Digression, & return to Mr. Adams, when he had 
embezzled the publick Monies of Bostonin Order to extricate him- 
self, he duped Mr. Hancock, by persuading him to build Houses & 
Wharves which would not bring him 2 p ct. Intrest for his Mony. 
This Work necessarily engaged a Variety of Artificers, whom 
Adams could prefer. This secured these Orders of Men in his In- 
terest; & such Men chiefly composed the Voters of a Boston Town 
Meeting. At one of their Meetings the Town voted him a Discharge 
of 2/3 d of his Debt, & Mr. Hancock & some others, into whose 
Graces he had insinuated his balefull Poison, subscribed to a Dis- 
charge of the other Third thus was he set at large to commit his 
Ravages on Government, untill he undermined the Foundations of 
it, & not one Stone had been left upon another. He soon outrivalled 
Mr. Otis in popularity. His was all serpentine Cunning, Mr. Otis 
was rash, unguarded, foulmouthed, & openly spitefull; all which 
was disgustful! to those who piqued themselves upon their Sanctity. 
The other had always a religious Mask ready for his Occasions; he 
could transform his self into an Angel of Light with the weak Re- 
ligionist; & with the abandoned he would disrobe his self & appear 
with his cloven Foot & in his native Blackness of Darkness he had 
a good Voice, & was a Master in vocal Musick. This Genius he im- 
proved, by instituting singing Societys of Mechanicks, where he 
preesided; & embraced such Opportunities to ye inculcating Sedi- 
tion, 'till it had ripened into Rebellion. His Power over weak Minds 
was truly surprizing. I have done with him for the present; you will 
soon hear more of him. 


It may not be amiss, now, to reconnoitre Mr. Qtis's black Regi- 
ment, the dissenting Clergy, who took so active a Part in the Re- 
bellion. 24 The congregational perswasion of Religion might be prop- 

24 The term "black regiment" was used in Oliver's article in the Boston Weekly 
News-Letter, Jan. u, 1776. It was used earlier by "Israelite" in the Boston Gazette, 
Dec. 7, 1772. 


erly termed the established Religion of the Massachusetts, as well 
as of some other of the New England Colonies; as the Laws were 
peculiarly adapted to secure ye Rights of this Sect; although all other 
Religions were tolerated, except the Romish. This Sect inherited 
from their Ancestors an Aversion to Episcopacy; & I much question, 
had it not been for the Supremacy of the British Government over 
them, which they dared not openly deny, whether Episcopacy itself 
would have been tolerated; at least it would have been more dis- 
countenanced than it was & here I can not but remark a great Mis- 
take of the Governors of the Church of England, in proposing to 
the Colonies to have their consent to a Bishops residing among them 
for ye purpose of Ordination. It was the direct Step to a Refusal; 
for all such Proposals from the Parent State, whether of a civil or a 
Religious Nature, were construed into Timidity by the Colonists, 
& were sure of meeting with a Repulse. 

The Clergy of this Province were, in general, a Set of very weak 
Men; & it could not be expected that they should be otherwise, as 
many of them were just relieved, some from the Burthen of the 
Satchel; & others from hard Labor; & by a Transition from those 
Occupations to mounting a Desk, from whence they could over- 
look the principal Part of their Congregations, they, by that mean 
acquired a supreme Self Importance; which was too apparent in 
their Manners. Some of them were Men of Sense, and would have 
done Honor to a Country which shone in Literature; but there were 
few of these; & among these, but very few who were not strongly 
tinctured with Republicanism. The Town of Boston being the 
Metropolis, it was also the Metropolis of Sedition; and hence it was 
that their Clergy being dependent on the People for their daily 
Bread; by having frequent Intercourse with the People, imbibed 
their Principles. 25 In this Town was an annual Convention of the 
Clergy of the Province, the Day after the Election of his Majestys 
Charter Council; and at those Meetings were settled the religious 
Affairs of the Province; & as the Boston Clergy were esteemed by 
the others as an Order of Deities, so they were greatly influenced 
by them. There was also another annual Meeting of the Clergy at 
Cambridge, on the Commencement for graduating the Scholars of 
Harvard College*, at these two Conventions, if much Good was 
effectuated, so there was much Evil. And some of the Boston Clergy, 

25 "Freeman" in the Censor for Jan. 4, 1772, p. 25, observed that the Boston clergy 
"have temporised, against thek own judgments, in compliance with the prejudices of 
their people!' 

as they were capable of the Latter, so they missed no Opportunities 
of accomplishing their Purposes. Among those who were most dis- 
tinguished of the Boston Clergy were Dr. Charles Chauncy, Dr. 
Jonathan Mayhew & Dr. Samuel Cooper?* & they distinguished 
theirselves in encouraging Seditions & Riots, untill those lesser Of- 
fences were absorbed in Rebellion. 27 

Dr. Chauncy was advanced in Life; he was a Man of Sense, but 
of exorbitant Passions. 28 He would utter Things in Conversation that 
bordered too near upon Blasphemy; & when such wild Expressions 
were noticed to him, by observing that his Sermons were free from 
such Extravagances, he would reply, that "in making his Sermons 
he always kept a Blotter by him!' He was of a very resentf ull, un- 
forgiving Temper; & when he was in the Excess of his Passion, a By- 
stander would naturally judge that he had been educated in the 
Purlieus of Bedlam-, but he was open in all his Actions. His hoary 
Head had great Respect paid to it by the factious & seditious, & It 
would really have been a Crown of Glory to him had it been found 
in the Way of Righteousness. 

Dr. Mayheiv was also a Man of Sense, but he was very slow in 
arranging & consolidating his Ideas. 29 In Conversation he was an 
awkard Disputant, as well as in his extempore Pulpit Effusions. Both 
were more like to the Water of a River dashing over the Rocks that 
Impeded its Course, than to the smooth flowing Current. Both were 
so unharmonious and discordant, that they always grated upon the 
Ears of his Auditors; but his polemick, publick Performances, al- 
though elaborate & inelegant, showed Strength of Reason. He had 
too great a Share of Pride for an humble Disciple of so divine a 
Master, & looked with too contemptuous an Eye on all around him. 

26 Other members of the "black regiment" were Jonas Clark, of Lexington, whose 
wife was Hancock's cousin; Andrew Eliot, who was a correspondent of Thomas 
Hollis; John Lathrop, of Old North Church; and Samuel Cooke, of Arlington, who 
was a good friend of Jonas Clark and John Cleaveland. 

27 Samuel Cooper and his successor were accused of "sowing sedition and conspiracy 
among parishioners" a practice that had gone on ever since the cornerstone of the 
church was laid. See Alice M. Baldwin, The New England Clergy and the American 
Revolution (Durham, N.C., 1928) , p. 94, n. 34. 

28 Charles Chauncy (1705-87), son of a Boston merchant and minister of the First 
Church for sixty years, was the most influential minister of his time in Boston. 

29 Jonathan Mayhew (1702-66), minister of the West Church of Boston from 1747 
to his death, was well known for his political views. John Adams said that Mayhew 
was a "transcendent genius" whose seasoned expressions of wit and satire were 
superior to any found in Swift or Franklin ( Works, X, 287-288) . 

The late chief Justice Sewall was one of his Parishioners, & a Patron 
to him; & during his Life, his Behaviour was as decent as could be 
expected from a Man of his Temper; but when that very worthy 
Magistrate died, he gave a loose to his Passions & commenced a 
partizan in Politicks. And it was remarked, that on the day pre- 
ceeding the Destruction of Mr. Hutchinson's House, he preached 
so seditious a Sermon, that some of his Auditors, who were of the 
Mob, declared, whilst the Doctor was delivering it they could scarce 
contain themselves from going out of the Assembly & beginning 
their Work. 30 However, when the Villainy was perpetrated, he felt 
some severe Girds of what is vulgarly called Conscience; but he 
found, too late, that his Words were too hard of Digestion to be ate. 
Happy had it been for him, if the Doctrine of the Inefficacy of a 
Death Bed Repentance had had a proper Effect upon his own Mind. 31 
The last of the sacerdotal Triumvirate, whom I shall mention, is 
Dr. Cooper. 32 There were others of the Order, who were of the 
Faction, but they were Understrappers & Lacquies. Dr. Cooper was 
a young Man very polite in his Manners of a general Knowledge 
not deep in his Profession, but very deep in the black Art. His be- 
havior in Company was very insinuating especially among the fair 
Sex; & many of them, of his Acquaintance, had their Adams. No 
Man could, with a better Grace, utter the Word of God from his 
Mouth, & at the same Time keep a two edged Dagger concealed in 
his Hand. His Tongue was Butter & Oil, but under it was the Poison 
of Asps. Never was a Scholar of St. Omers, who was a more thor- 
ough Proficient in Jesuitism. He could not only prevaricate with 
Man, but with God also; for when he, once, had invited a young 
Clergyman, who was not in Orders, to preach an afternoon Sermon 
for him, the factious Conspirators had recieved some disagreable 
News, in the Intervals of divine Service, & sent for Dr. Cooper, 

30 On Aug. 25, 1765, Mayhew preached "a fiery sermon on the text: C I would they 
were even cut off which trouble you! Soon after a mob destroyed Hutchinson's house 
and one of the ringleaders when caught, excused his actions on the ground that he 
was excited by the sermon, 'and thought he was doing God service! " Frank Dean 
Girford, "The Influence of the Clergy on American Politics from 1763 to 1776" His- 
torical Magazine of the Protestant Episcopal Church, X (1941), 1 08. 

31 Charles Chauncy, A Discourse Occasioned by the Death of the Reverned [sic] 
Jonathan Mayhew (Boston, 1766), p. 39: "His death, in the vigor of his days, and 
height of his usefulness, may justly be esteemed a great and public loss, calling for 
universal lamentation!' 

32 Samuel Cooper (1725-83), born in Boston and graduated from Harvard College 
in 1743, was minister of the Brattle Street Church. 

upon a Consultation. The Doctor was detained 'till the Hour for 
administring a Baptism approached, & he was sent for. He came, but 
pretended Sickness for his Absence; when it was known that he 
had been among the Leaders of the Faction. The Fluency of his 
Tongue & the Ease of his Manners atoned with some for all his Dis- 
simulation; for his Manners were such, that he was always agreeable 
to the politest Company, who were unacquainted with his real Char- 
acter; & he could descend from them to mix privately with the 
Rabble, in their nightly seditious Associations. 33 

I have done Sir! for the present, with my Portraits. If you like 
them, & think them ornamental for your Parlour, pray hang them 
up in it; for I assure You, that most of them justly demerit a Sus- 

33 Gifford, "The Influence of the Clergy? p. 109: "Dr. Samuel Cooper of the Brattle 
Street Church in Boston was another who took a leading part in arousing his fellow- 
citizens at the time of the Stamp Act and later and thus was especially detested by the 
Tories and the British. His counsel was eagerly sought and he was the friend and 
intimate correspondent of men like Samuel Adams, Benjamin Franklin and Joseph 
Warren! 5 


I shall now resume my other disagreeable Task, & open upon You 
the progressive Scenes of the Rebellion; & here I must previously 
inform You, that the Inhabitants of the Massachusetts bay were 
notorious in the smuggling Business, from the Capital Merchant 
down to the meanest Mechanick. And whereas in England it is dis- 
honorable, to a Merchant of Honor, to be guilty of such base Sub- 
terfuges to increase their Estates, it is in New England so far from 
being reproachfull, that some of the greatest Fortunes there were 
acquired in this disgracefull Trade; & the Prop[r]ietors of them 
boast of their Method of Acquisition. Nay, some of those Smugglers 
have acquired so strong an Habit of Smuggling, that they have 
openly declared, that if they could gain more by a legal Trade they 
would prefer the former. 


So pernicious is this illicit Trade, that it not only wrongs the So- 
ciety of those Dues which are the Resources for its Support, & in- 
jures the fair Dealer by lessening his Abilities to aid Society & main- 
tain his private Family, but it naturally tends to the Destruction of 
all moral Sense. And it may safely be asserted, that a thorough 
Adept in this most balefull Science is ever ready to commit, not only 
the lesser Crimes, but is fit for Stratagems, Treasons & Murder. These 
have been the Effects of this accursed Vice in other Countries, & 
repeatedly so in this Province, where Sanctity is so much boasted 
of. In a Court of Justice, where a Smugler is a Witness, both Judge 
& Jury ever ought to be cautious & strict in the Examination of such 
a Witness, & in giving Credence to his Testimony; & the soundest 
Reason will justifie such a Jealousy. 

As Instances of some of the Arts of their dishonest Profession, I 
will give one or two Anecdotes, leaving some others to the Time in 
wch. they were transacted. I knew a Captain of a Vessell in Boston, 
of no mean Reputation in Trade, & who was largely concerned in 
the contraband Trade, who publickly boasted, that when he came 
in from Sea, he made it his Practice, on the Morning of the Day on 
which he entred his Vessell, & previous to Office Hours, to go 

before the Custom House, hold up his Hand, and swear that "what 
he should swear before the Custom House Officer on that Day should 
go -for nothing"', & afterwards would swear, before the Officer, that 
he had no contraband Goods on Board; when, at the same Time, the 
greatest Part of his Cargo was of that Sort. Another Captain boasted, 
"that he had evaded the Law, by writing two Manifests of his Cargo, 
one of which contained the contraband Goods he had on Board, & 
in the other Manifest those Goods were left out, he then went to the 
Custom House & stuck the true Manifest in the Sleeve of that 
Hand which he was to hold up in swearing, & deliverd the false 
Manifest to the Officer, & swore the Manifest to be a true one, mean- 
ing that which was in his Sleeve!' 1 Such Arts as these are what is 
vulgarly called, cheating the Devil-, but if those Adventurers can 
get no more by cheating him than they do by cheating their King, 
(& by the Way, that is a pretty round Sum too) they may, upon 
settling the Account Current, find theirselves in large Arrears, & 
not be able to smuggle off the Ballance. 

As an Instance that Smugglers are lost to all Sense of Honor, I 
shall relate a Fact which was transacted in the Massachusetts Prov- 
ince. The Distillery of Rum was a capital Article of Business there- 
by the Interest of the West India Merchants a Duty of six Pence P 
Gallon was laid upon all foreign Melasses imported into the northern 
Colonies, & afterwards reduced to -four Pence. This created great 
Uneasiness among the Merchants of this Province, where the 
smugling Business was carried on in its highest Perfection: upon 
which they wrote to the provincial Agent in England, upon the Act 
of Parliament. He wrote back, desiring them to consult together 
what Duties on Melasses they could afford to pay, as it was neces- 
sary that some Duty should be paid: upon which the capital Mer- 
chants of this Province met & agreed, that they were willing to pay 
one Penny e^ an half upon a Gallon, & if the Duty could be lowered 
to that, they would never run any foreign Melasses, as the Charge 
& Trouble of so doing would be greater than the Duty. The Agent, 
by his Interest, reduced the Duties to one Penny P Gallon, 2 & I have 
heard a Merchant who imported large Quantities of foreign Me- 

1 Stories of this type were commonplace in admiralty correspondence. Bollan to 
Admiralty, Feb. 26, 1743, Historical Manuscripts in the Public Library of the City of 
Boston (Boston, 1900-04), No. i, pp. 3-8. Bollan repeats some similar incidents and 
concludes (p. 5) that "the Master appears boldly, and is ready to Swear any thing for 
the Good of the Voyage. . . !' 

2 In 1766 (Oliver's footnote). 

lasses, say, that by the Indulgence of the Custom House Officers the 
Duty amounted to but three -farthings p Gallon. 3 

This, the Voice of Honesty would have said was favorable & rea- 
sonable; but so lost to all Sense of Honor was this Set of Men, that 
the smuggling Trade went on as usual, untill at last, with other Co- 
incidents, it brought on the present Rebellion. This Business was so 
notable a School to teach the Art of tricking & foreswearing, that 
it became proverbial, "that no Jew could get his Bread in Boston" 
whereas in most of the other Provinces there were Numbers of those 
trading Israelites, & in some of them Synagogues of most elegant 
Structure. But, here, Circumcision availed nothing. The Uncircum- 
[ci]sion was all in all; & it was much to be wondered at, that there 
were no more Apostates from Judaism, since ye. Religion of an 
Israelite centers in the Acquisition of Gain, in all its Forms. There 
were two Jews who had settled in Trade for a short Time in Boston, 
but they were at last obliged to vail to the superior Sagacity of their 
Neighbours, & turned out Bankrupts. 


From the Year 7760 when Mr. Hutchinson had been appointed 
to the Office of Chief Justice, in Preference to Mr. Otis, the father, 
Otis the Son had been exerting the Abilities of his Head & the Malice 
of his Heart to perform the Vow he had made, of "setting the Prov- 
ince in a Flame" He accordingly engrafted his self into the Body 
of Smugglers, & they embraced him so close, as a Lawyer & an use- 
full Pleader for them, that he soon became incorporated with them. 
They were bold & daring in Defiance of Government, so was he. 
He was brutish in his Behavior, & bullyed for them, untill he had 
bullyed his self almost into a Mad-House. Besides, through his Op- 
position to Government, he was elected a Representative for Boston. 
And in this lower House of Assembly, he could rail, swear, lie & talk 
Treason impunite, & here he never failed to take Advantage of 
his Priviledge, so that the Assembly, in his Time, was more like a 
Bedlam than a Session of Senators. And here he had the joint Efforts 

3 Arthur M. Schlesinger, The Colonial Merchants and the American Revolution, 
1763-1776 (New York, 1918), p. 59: "A keen observer [Richard Oswald] declared 
in retrospect [in 1775] . . . that the union among the colonies had derived 'its original 
source from no Object of a more Respectable Cast than that of a Successful practice 
in Illicit Trade, I say contrived, prompted and promoted by a Confederacy of Smuglers 
in Boston, Rhode Island and other Seaport Towns on that Coast!" John Adams 
(Works, X, 345) observed that "I know not why we should blush to confess that 
molasses was an essential ingredient in American independence. Many great events 
have proceeded from much smaller causes!' 

of his disappointed Father, & of Joseph Haruoley Esqr., who had, 
both of them, great Interest with, & Sway over the Country Mem- 
bers, who were generally, Men of very inferior Understanding & 
were ever to be charmed with the Word Patriotism, which in the 
Dictionary of this Province, was translated, Republicanism; which, 
had these Drivers understood the Nature of, as well as their Horses 
did their Words of Command, the Commonwealth had never met 
with those Shocks from Rocks, & other Impediments, wch. the 
Leaders of the Faction had drove them against, in Order to gratifie 
their own base Purposes. 

At this Time, the late Sr. Francis Bernard was Governor of the 
Province. He was a Gentleman well acquainted with the System of 
the British Constitution. He had his full Share of Learning & good 
Sense. His Integrity was incorrupt. His Firmness of Mind was in- 
vulnerablehis Virtue unimpeached & his Honesty impregnable. 
Such a Governor would have made any other People happy; but he 
was too f aithf ull to his King & Country to continue long in the good 
Graces of Refractoriness. He had been recieved as their Governor 
in the Year 1759, & with great applause. 4 They had complimented 
him justly, according to his Merits; he lived in great Harmony with 
them for 3 or 4 Years; but as soon as he was called upon to exert his 
Abilities to defend the British Constitution, in Relation to the Stamp 
Act, he met, from the Assembly, with the most illiberal Treatment. 
However, his good Sense, & his Fidelity to his royal Master, were 
an Overmatch for the Rage of their Passion & the Weakness of their 
Reasonings. This vexed them, & they never quitted their blood 
thirsty Chace, untill they had, by their Pursuit, run him down in 
the Year 1 769, by a Petition to his Majesty, crouded with Falsehoods, 
to remove him. 5 Mr. Bernard desired Leave to return to England-, 
it was granted; & he so fully answered the scurrilous Libel, that he 
was honorably acquitted of their false Charges, & their Petition was 
voted by the King & Council, as groundless, vexatious & scandalous* 

4 Francis Bernard (1712-79) arrived in Massachusetts in August 1760. For a brief 
analysis of Bernard's career, see Morgan, The Stamp Act Crisis, pp. 7-20. 

5 "Philanthrop" noted in the Boston Evening-Post, Dec. 29, 1766, that everything 
Governor Bernard did "whether good bad or indifferent, has been tortured to crim- 

6 Oliver is referring to the employment of Governor Bernard's letters by the opposi- 
tion in 1769. Bollan, the former agent, secured copies of these dispatches and had 
them sent to Boston, where they were used to destroy Bernard's remaining prestige. 
Malcolm Freiberg, "William Bollan, Agent of Massachusetts;' More Books, XXIII 
(1948), 179-180. 

Thus did the Petition meet with the lowest Degree of its Demerits; 
& had the Instigators of it met with the lowest Degree of theirs, an 
Outlawry, the Nation would not, perhaps, at this Time have had 
to grapple with the present Rebellion. But the Leaders of ye. Faction 
always boasted, that they could get rid of any Governor whom they 
were displeased with; & when they could find no just Allegations to 
urge, as they never could, they would go p[er] Nefas, 7 thro' thick 
without thin, to accomplish their Ends; & it must be acknowledged, 
that not any People were better qualified for the most dirty Jobs to 
rake into Kennels is the proper Business of such political Scavengers. 


The Preparatives of the english Ministry towards establishing a 
Stamp Act in America, together with the foregoing Incidents, are 
now to open a Scene which afforded Matter of Speculation for all 
Europe, & gave a Stimulus to the Passions & Designs of the Factious, 
in all the Colonies. But more especially to those of the Massachusetts, 
who had already begun their grand Tour. The Design of raising 
Monies, by Stamps in the Colonies, was in Order, that they should 
Contribute to the lessening that immense Debt which the british 
Nation had contracted in the late Wars. A very great Part of which 
was to secure the Colonies to Great Britain, & to rescue them, upon 
their own repeated, earnest & humble Supplications, from being 
subjugated by the French of Canada. This mode of raising Monies, 
must be allowed to have been as lenient as could be devised, as it 
would not have been sensibly felt in the collecting. It was a Right 
that was justifiable by the Principles of the english Constitution; 
and it was a Claim of Right that ought to have been asserted without 
yeilding to Opposition, untill it had been established. Much better 
had it been never to have planned it in Idea, than to have suffered it 
to fail in Executionbut the British Ministry, unacquainted with the 
Temper of the Colonists, were misled, by imagining that as there 
was a just Debt due from them to the parent State for her great Ex- 
ertions in their Favor, it was therefore proposed to them by circular 
Letters in 1764, to consider of this Method to reimburse the Rev- 
enue in part of what it had advanced for their Benefit; or to adopt 
some other Mode of Acknowledgement, as they might judge most 

7 Perfa$ et nefas: "by right or by wrong!' They drove ahead disregarding conse- 
quences and troubled by no scruple. 


convenient to their selves. This Proposal, to an impartial Mind, must 
surely be construed as indulgent & condescending; but to those who 
are acquainted with the Sentiments of the Colonists, must appear, 
not only Futile, but attended with the most fatal Consequences. 


Accordingly, the Hydra was roused. Every factious Mouth vom- 
ited out Curses against Great Britain, & the Press rung its changes 
upon Slavery. A Mr. Delany* a principal Lawyer of Virginia, 
wrote the first Pamphlet of Note upon the Subject; which, as soon 
as it reached Boston young Mr. Otis, the then Jack Cade of the Re- 
bellion, expressed his Astonishment at it, as a Species of high Treason; 
but in a very short Time, he his self pamphletized in much higher, 
though not in so elegant, Terms. Agents from the colonial Leg- 
islatures were deputed, to agree in Remonstrances to the Court of 
Great Britain against the passing the Stamp Act. Lieut. Govr. Hutch- 
inson, wth. some others, drew up a Memorial, for the Massachusetts, 
fraught with Decency; for, as yet, Anarchy in this Province had 
not mounted the Throne, tho' it had raised its self upon the first 
Step of it. Had the other Memorialists couched theirs in as modest 
Terms, & urged the same or as strong Reasons, it is much to be 
doubted whether the Act would have passed. But some of the other 
Colonies were so irritated, that they at once hung out the Flag of 
Defiance, with such Exasperations that the most indulgent Parent 
could not pass by unnoticed. 

The Ministry found it in vain to expect any Deference from the 
Colonies, & the Act was passed in the british Senate (1765); & let 
it be here remembred, that Mr. Pitt, ye. late Lord Chatham, let it 
pass sub silentio. At this Time, Interest was made for the office of 
Stamp Master of the different Colonies, Dr. Benjamin Franklin, 
who is now the Agent in France of the present american Rebellion, 
put in for his Share of the Loaves & Fishes, & procured some of his 
Friends to be appointed as Stamp Masters. Some of the Colonies 
submitted, the others proceeded to Outrages, & prevailed over the 
British Nation, so as to affright them into a Repeal of the Act in 
1766. May every future Politician weigh well the Consequences of 

8 Daniel Dulany (1722-97) of Maryland was noted for his Considerations on the 
Propriety of Imposing Taxes in the British Colonies, -for the Purpose of Raising a 
Revenue, by Act of Parliament (Annapolis, 1765). See Aubrey C. Land, The Dulany s 
of Maryland (Baltimore, 1955), pp. 263-270. 

his Projections, and remember, that it is more eligible to be without 
Laws, than to leave those that are made unexecuted & trampled upon 
by the dirty Foot of Rebellion or Faction. 

In this Year 1765, began the violent Outrages in Boston: and now 
the Effusions of Rancour from Mr. Otis' s Heart were brought into 
Action. It hath been said, that he had secured the Smugglers & their 
Connections, as his Clients. An Opportunity now offered for them 
to convince Government of their Influence: as Seizure had been 
made by breaking open a Store, agreeable to act of Parliament; it 
was contested in the supreme Court, where Mr. Hutchinson prae- 
sided. The Seizure was adjudged legal by the whole Court. 

This raised Resentment against the Judges. Mr. Hutchinson was 
the only Judge who resided in Boston, & he only, of the Judges, was 
the Victim; for in a short Time after, the Mob of Otis & his clients 
plundered Mr. Hutchinsons House of its full Contents, destroyed 
his Papers, unroofed his House, & sought his & his Children's Lives, 
which were saved by Flight. One of the Riotors declared, the next 
morning, that the first Places which they looked into were the Beds, 
in Order to murder the Children. All this was Joy to Mr. Otis, as 
also to some of the considerable Merchants who were smugglers, & 
personally active in the diabolical Scene. But a grave old Gentleman 
thought it more than diabolical; for upon viewing the Ruins, on the 
next Day, he made this Remark, vizt. "that if the Devil had been 
here the last Night, he would have gone back to his own Regions, 
ashamed of being outdone, & never more have set Foot upon the 
Earth!' If so, what Pity that he did not take an Evening Walk, at 
that unhappy Crisis; for he hath often since seen himself outdone 
at his own outdoings. 

The Mob, also, on the same Evening, broke into the Office of the 
Register of the Admiralty, & did considerable Damage there; but 
were prevented from an utter Destruction of it. 9 They also sought 
after the Custom House Officers; but they secreted themselves 
these are some of the blessed Effects of smuggling. And so abandoned 
from all Virtue were the Minds of the People of Boston, that when 
the Kings Attorny examined many of them, on Oath, who were 
Spectators of the Scene & knew the Actors, yet they exculpated 
them before a Grand Jury; & others, who were Men of Reputation, 

9 William Story, the deputy register of the Vice-Admiralty Court, was visited by 
the mob on Aug. 26, 1765, when most of his personal and official papers and his home 
were damaged. Benjamin Hallowell, the comptroller of customs, suffered almost the 
total loss of his beautiful home. 

avoided giving any Evidence, thro' Fear of the like Fate. Such was 
the Reign of Anarchy in Boston, & such the very awkward Situation 
in which every Friend to Government stood. Mr. Otis & his mirmy- 
dons, the Smugglers & the black Regiment, had instilled into the 
Canaille, that Mr. Hut chins on had promoted the Stamp Act-, 
whereas, on the Contrary, he not only had drawn up the decent 
Memorial of the Massachusetts Assembly, but, previous to it, he 
had repeatedly wrote to his Friends in England to ward it off, by 
shewing the Inexpedience of it; & the Disadvantages that would 
accrue from it to the english Nation, but it was in vain to struggle 
against the Law of Otis, & the Gospel of his black Regiment. That 
worthy Man must be a Victim; Mr. Otis said so, & it was done. 

Such was the Frenzy of Anarchy, that every Man was jealous of 
his Neighbour, & seemed to wait for his Turn of Destruction; & such 
was the political Enthusiasm, that the Minds of the most pious Men 
seemed to be wholly absorbed in the Temper of Riot. 10 One Clergy- 
man of Boston, in particular, who seemed to be devoted to an Ab- 
straction from the World, and had gone through an Existence of 
near 70 Years, reputedly free from both original Sin & actual Trans- 
gression, yet by the perpetuall buzzing of Incendiaries at his Ear, 
being inquired of, as an Oracle, what ought to be done by the Peo- 
ple? He uttered his Decision with this laconick Answer. "Fight up 
to your Knees in Blood" 1 * Never could the exclamation of Tantaene 
animis c&lestibus irae, 12 be more just than on this Occasion. 

The Secretary of the Province also, who was appointed a Stamp 
Master, was attacked, and his House much damaged. 13 He was car- 
ried to the Tree of Liberty by the Mob & a Justice of the Peace pro- 
vided to swear him; & there he was obliged, on pain of Death, to 

10 Schlesinger describes the importance of colonial mobs thus: "Mass violence played 
a dominant role at every significant turning point of the events leading up to the War 
for Independence!' "Political Mobs and the American Revolution, 1765-1776" in 
Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, XCIX (1955), 244. 

1:L "Letter of Rev. Jonathan Mayhew to Richard Clarke" Sept. 3, 1765, New-England 
Historical and Genealogical Register, XL VI (1892), 17: "As to the sermon itself, I 

own it was composed in a high strain of liberty But certain I am, that no person 

could, without abusing & perverting it, take encouragement from it to go to mobbing, 
or to commit such abominable outrages as were lately committed, in defiance of the 
laws of God and man. I did, in the most formal, express manner, discountenance every- 
thing of that kind!' 

12 "Does such anger dwell in heavenly minds?" Vergil, Aeneid Lit. 

13 The secretary was Peter Oliver's brother, Andrew (1706-74), who had been sec- 
retary of the colony since 1756. 

C$3 3 

take an Oath to resign his Office. This Tree stood in the Town, 14 & 
was consecrated as an Idol for the Mob to worship; it was properly 
the Tree ordeal, where those, whom the Rioters pitched upon as 
State delinquents, were carried to for Trial, or brought to as the 
Test of political Orthodoxy. It flourished untill the british Troops 
possessed Boston, when it was desecrated by being cut down & car- 
ried to the Fire ordeal to warm the natural Body. It would have 
been lucky for the Soldiery, had it continued to give a natural 
Warmth as long as it had communicated its political Heat; they then 
would not have suffered so much by the Severity of a cold Season. 15 
Governor Bernard, by his great Firmness & Prudence, had secured 
the Stamps which were sent from England, in Castle William about 
3 Miles from Boston; otherwise, they would have been involved in 
the general Destruction; and Things remained in a State of An- 
archy through the Year 1765. The Leaders of the Faction had hired 
a Shoemaker, named Mackintosh, as the antitype of Massianello of 
Naples-, but he was a much cleverer Fellow. He was sensible & manly, 
& performed their dirty Jobs for them with great Eclat. 16 He dressed 
genteelly; & in Order to convince the publick of that Power with 
which he was invested, he paraded the Town with a Mob of 2000 
Men in two Files, & passed by the Stadthouse, when the general 
Assembly were sitting, to display his Power. If a Whisper was heard 
among his Followers, the holding up his Finger hushed it in a 
Moment: & when he had fully displayed his Authority, he marched 
his Men to the first Rendevouz, & order'd them to retire peacably to 
their several Homes; & was punctually obeyed. This unhappy Fel- 

14 The tree, a large elm, stood on the corner of the present Essex and Washington 
streets of Boston, a short distance from the Commons. Schlesinger, "Liberty Tree: A 
Genealogy" in New England Quarterly, XXV (1952) , 435-458. 

15 David Ramsay, The History of the American Revolution (Philadelphia, 1789), I, 
64: "A new mode of displaying resentment against the friends of the stamp act, began 
in Massachusetts, and was followed by other colonies. A few gentlemen hung out, 
early in the morning, on the limb of a large tree, towards the enterance of Boston, 
two effigies, one designed for the stamp master, the other for a jack boot, with a head 
and horns peeping out at the top!' 

16 Ebenezer Mackintosh (1737-1816). George E Anderson has written two accounts 
on Mackintosh in the Pubs, of the Colonial Soc. of Mass., XXVI (1927), "Ebenezer 
Mackintosh: Stamp Act Rioter and Patriot" 15-64, and "A Note on Ebenezer Mack- 
intosh" 348-361. Oliver's estimate of Mackintosh, writes Anderson (p. 352), "sounds 
like an exaggeration, yet all the evidence from other sources shows Mackintosh to 
have been in supreme command of the riotous element during the Stamp Act period!' 
Upon his retirement in 1774 Mackintosh lived in obscurity at Haverhill, N. H., until 
his death in 1816. Anderson (pp. 353-354) admits that Mackintosh may have taken 
to drink and been thrown into prison. 

low was always ready for the Drudgeries of his Employers, untill 
by neglecting his Business, he was reduced to part with his Last <& 
all, took to hard drinking, was thrown into a Jail & died. And, to the 
eternal Disgrace of his rich Employers, when he supplicated some 
of them for 2 or 3 Dollars to relieve his Distress, he was refused the 
small Pittance, because at that Time they had no further Service 
for him; & had he not possessed a Soul endowed with superior Honor 
to any of his Employers, he would have brought several of them to 
the Gallows. There are Instances of Villains, of the small vulgar 
Order, who discover Souls superior to those of many of the great 

Indeed, it was not much to be wondred at, that the Colonies ex- 
ulted in rioting, & defied the Authority of Great Britain for the rash 
laconick Sentence of that popular Statesman Mr. Pitt, in the House 
of Commons, namely, "^rejoice, that America hath resisted" was 
construed as the Voice ol a God. 17 Like an electrick Shock it instan- 
taneously pervaded the whole american Continent. 18 The Attributes 
of a Deity were ascribed to ye. popular Senator; & under his Auspices 
all was safe. Had he delivered the Sentence, or something of equal 
force, when the Stamp Act was on the Tapis, it might perhaps have 
saved much honor to the british Senate & the Colonies from a Series 
of Misrule, but perhaps the Orator thought he had a Right to chuse 
his own Times for Silence, & for Utterance. Be it as it may; the 
Sound hath not as yet died away in american ears; & greatly, very 
greatly hath it contributed to that Series of Opposition in the Col- 
onies, which hath ever since subsisted: & doubtless it was in Part 
owing to that Speech, that the Stamp Act was finally repealed. 


In 1766 the Act was repealed. 19 Illuminations & Sky-rockets pro- 

17 William Pitt's speech of 1766 is reprinted in The Parliamentary History of Eng- 
land, ed. William Cobbett (London, 1806-20), XVI, 103-108. Charles R. Ritcheson, 
British Politics and the American Revolution (Norman, Olda., 1954), p. 54: "America 
had found her advocate!' 

18 The editor of the Boston Evening-Post, May 12, 1766, said that Pitt's speech had 
an "electrical Shock" on the House of Commons. 

19 Ramsay, History of the American Revolution, I, 74: "The repeal of the stamp 
act, in a relative connexion with all its circumstances and consequences, was the first 
direct step to American independency. . . . They [Colonies] conceived that, in respect 
to commerce, she [Great Britain] was dependent on them. It inspired them with 
such high ideas of the importance of their trade, that they considered the Mother 
Country to be brought under greater obligations to them. . . !' 

claimed the general Joy. 20 But it was not the Joy of Gratitude, but 
the Exultation of Triumph, America had now found out a Way of 
redressing her own Grievances, without applying to a superior 
Power. She felt her own Superiority, & has uninterruptedly applied 
the same Remedy. How far the Medicine may avail, in its present 
Operation, Time alone can discover. But happy had it been for both 
Sides of the Water, for the Stamp Act to have had a temporary En- 
forcement, 'rill the Colonies had felt ye. Energy of the Supremacy 
of the British Legislature. For, at that Time, thinking Minds com- 
pared the Proceedings of the parent State to the whirligig Toy wch. 
plays backward & forward for meer Amusement, Great Britain 
pulling the String to turn one Way, & America taking its Turn to 
pull it back again. And to add to the Misfortune, a change of Min- 
istry was productive of Disgrace to the Nation; for those who be- 
fore had been promotive of the Stamp Act, when they were the 
Inns, reversed their Arguments for the Support of the Supremacy 
of the British Parliament, when they were the Outs: & they had 
their Partizans, who maintained a literary Corespondence with some 
of the Leaders of the Faction in America, especially in Boston, the 
Metropolis of Sedition. 21 

Notwithstanding the Repeal of the Stamp Act, the same Parlia- 
ment passed an Act declarative of its Power over all the Colonies. 
This might be Termed, saving of Appearances-, & that was all It was 
told in Gath & published in the Streets of Askalon; even the Daugh- 
ters of the Philistines laughed with their Lords; and ye. Daughters 
of the uncircumsised Americans cried, "Pish! Words are but Wind" 22 
It was adding Contempt to Insult. They were swelled with then- 
own Importance, & had felt so little from british Power, that they 
now hugged themselves in Security, regardless of what a Power at 
3000 Miles distant could do unto them; & the pious Clergy made 
them to believe that; as Ambassadors of Heaven, they had secured 
all its Powers on their Side. A Law without Penalties, or one with 
Penalties not exacted, is similar to a Clock whose Machinery hath 
no Weight to set the Wheels in Motion, or to a Watch whose Spring 
hath lost its Elasticity. They are all useless to Mankind; nay, worse, 

20 The wild celebration upon the repeal of the act was described in the Boston 
Evening-Post, May 26, 1766. 

21 The bitterness of party politics, in which leaders often contradicted their past ac- 
tions, is described by George H. Guttridge, English Whiggism and the American 
Revolution (Berkeley, 1942), pp. 19-24. 

22 II Samuel 1.20. 


they depreciate their Value. It is in Government as it is in private 
Life: a desultory, undetermined Conduct often induces Contempt. 
As an Evidence that the Massachusetts felt an Importance from 
the Success of their refractory Conduct, they now began to strike 
hard against every Man who wished well to the Authority of the 
british Government, & who dared to avow its Supremacy. The first 
Blow they struck, which Otis & his Myrmidons had for several 
Years past missed their Aim in, was at the Election of his Majesty's 
Council; when they voted out six Gentlemen who would not com- 
ply with their unconstitutional Proceedings, & chose six in their 
Stead who were always ready to go through thick & thin with 
them. 23 This Right they enjoyed by their Charter, & this Right, only, 
they pleaded; though in private they urged that those six were too 
well affected to the Principles of Loyalty. But it happened that the 
Governor had an equal Right by the same Charter of negativing 
any or all of the Council that might be chose; and he exercised his 
Right also. And although many of the Council were as obnoxious 
as those who were new chose, yet to avoid giving greater offence 
than was necessary, he only negatived six, as a ballance to those who 
were dismissed. Mr. Barnard had so great a Confidence in his own 
Integrity, that he was sometimes more open in his Declarations than 
was perhaps consistent with political Wisdom. 24 He not only pleaded 
his Right of a negative, but, in his Speeches to the Assembly, he 
urged their Dismission of those six Councellors as founded upon their 
Aims to destroy all Attachment to his Majesty's Authority; since 
they were, all of them, known to be well affected to Government. 
His Reasons were just & solid, but Truth, it is said, is not to be spoken 
at all Times. However, these Times were such, that it was imma- 
terial whether the Truth was concealed or laid open, for the present 
ruling Powers were such, that nothing less would satisfy their Vora- 
ciousness than the swallowing down all legal Government, & sub- 
stituting a Democracy in its Place. 25 

23 Oliver was particularly angry here at the patriots because he was one of the 
councilors who were not returned to office. Francis G. Walett, "The Massachusetts 
Council, 1766-1774: The Transformation of a Conservative Institution" William and 
Mary Quarterly, 3rd Ser., VI (1949), 605-627. 

^"Philanthrop? a writer often favorable to Francis Bernard, admitted that the gov- 
ernor's enthusiasm sometimes caused him to say unwise things. Boston Evening-Pasty 
March 2, 1767. 

25 The maneuvers of the patriots made the "governor's negative ... an ineffective 
weapon" in controlling the Council. Walett, "The Massachusetts Council? p. 608. 


Now, the whole Pack opened, & Otis hallooing them: Rib- 
aldry & Scurrility were open mouthed. Such Language prevailed in 
the lower House of Assembly, that would have disgraced a Billings- 
gate Convention. The Press groaned under the Weight of Libels; & 
Governor Barnard was attacked from all Quarters. They published 
the meanest, libellous Falsehoods against the Man whom not long 
before they had caressed, & who had served the mercantile In- 
terest, by writing to England in favor of their Trade, in such a Man- 
ner which the Merchants of the greatest abilities acknowledged was 
superior to their Capacities. He despised their private Scurrilities; 
some of his Friends vindicated him against News Paper Calumnies; 
& his own good Sense was by much an Overmatch for their united 
Understanding. The Truth was great, and it prevailed. This pro- 
voked them. Mr. Barnard was invulnerable by the Force of their 
weak Arguments; he was firm to his Sovereign & the british Consti- 
tution, & they never quitted their Rancor untill 2 years after, when 
they signed a Petition to his Majesty to remove him, which was 
crowded with the most glaring Falshoods. He was tired with en- 
deavoring to serve so ungratefull a People, & asked Leave of Absence, 
wch. was granted; and he never returned to his Government; but 
was much happier in the Smiles of his Sovereign, who rewarded his 
Fidelity with a Pension of 1200 p Year. 26 

There had been so frequent Changes in the English Ministry, 
that Opposition multiplied upon Opposition, and the Disputes with 
America had furnished the Minorities with sufficient Ground to 
take their Stand upon; hence, those in England supplyed the Ameri- 
cans with all Sorts of Artillery to defend theirselves, & support their 
own Importance in Parliament. A constant literary Correspondence 
was carried on with both Sides of the Atlantick. Every speech in 
Parliament, in Favor of America, was the Sound of Victory; it 
echoed to their Shores with the Rapidity of Lightning. The Rabble 
tortured the Air with their lo Paeans, & new Forces repaired to the 
Field of Battle. Those two great Names, Lords Chatham & Camden, 
appeared in the Front of Advocates, & furnished a new invented 
Piece of Artillery, the Distinction between internal & external Taxa- 
tion, fabricated in the dark Regions of Thomas Aquinas & Duns 

2G Oliver's figures on the Bernard family pension are correct. Sk Francis was awarded 
800, and Lady Bernard the remaining 400. The Barrington-Bernard Correspond- 
ence . . . /7<fo~/770, ed. Edward Channing and Archibald C. Coolidge (Cambridge, 
Mass., 191 2), p. xvii. 

Scotus. 27 In the Fervor of Opposition, they lost Sight of the Dis- 
tinction, & never once motioned to repeal other Acts, & the Post 
Office Act in particular, which was as much an internal Tax as the 
Stamp Act itself would have been, had it had its full Operation. Per- 
haps it might be as well, if all Parties would look forwards to the 
Ends & Consequences of their Efforts, instead of stopping at their 
first Onsets. It might prevent many untoward Effects, which too 
often arise, when Passion is substituted for sound reasoning & po- 
litical Foresight. The Americans improved upon the Distinction be- 
tween internal & external Taxes; & said it was a Distinction without 
a Difference. This was an Affront to the Understanding of those 
who advanced it, & Ld. Chatham, with Zeal was determined to sup- 
port it, & spoke some severe Sentences in Parliament which disgusted 
his transatlantick Adorers into a Contempt of him, as a poor super- 
annuated old Man. But notwithstanding his Age, he had Spirit 
enough remaining, to say in Parliament when he Delivered his Senti- 
ments upon American Affairs, "that he believed they would raise 
no more Statues to him" They had raised a Statue to his Memory 
at New York, which was afterwards demolished, & they took Care 
to preserve no other Memory of him than his "/ rejoice that America 
hath resisted" This they held as sacred as the Jews did the Law 
delivered from Mount Sinai*, but they were more obedient to it; for 
their hath not been one Instance of a Breach of it for above 1 5 Years 

27 Charles Pratt, first Earl Camden (1714-94), denounced taxation of the colonies 
as a breach of the constitution. 


I am now come to the Year 1767, a Year fraught with Occurrences, 
as extraordinary as 1765, but of a different Texture. Notwithstand- 
ing the Warnings that the Colonies had repeatedly given, of their 
determined Resolution to throw off the Supremacy of the british 
Parliament, yet the then Ministry chose to make another Trial of 
Skill; never adverting to the ill Success of former Attempts. They 
might have known, that the Contest had reached so great an 
Heighth, that the Colonists would never descend one Step untill 
they had first ascended the last Round of the Ladder; especially as 
they had already sung their Te Deum so lately, which they did not 
chuse to exchange for a de profundis-, & more especially, as their 
parliamentary, & other efficient Advocates were encreased. It re- 
quired no great Degree of second Sight to calculate Consequences. 
But the Ministry confiding in their own good Intentions, & placing 
too much Confidence in the Gratitude of the Colonists to the parent 
State (which by the Way they did not possess a Spark of, neither is 
it to be but seldom Expected to find it inhabit any where but in the 
private Breast, & too seldom there; to the Disgrace of human Na- 
ture), they procured a new Act to be passed, laying Duties upon 
Tea, Glass, Paper, & Painters Colours. This Act was not more un- 
reasonable than many other Acts which had been submitted to for 
many %ars past, & which, even at this Time, they made no Objec- 
tion to. But the Colonists had succeeded in their first Experiment of 
Opposition, & their new Allies in Parliament increased their Im- 

As to the G lass in particular, the Duty was so trifling, that it would 
not have enhanced the Price of it to the Purchaser; for there were 
so many Sellers who aimed at a Market for their Commodities, & 
the Merchants had so great a Profit upon their Goods, that they 
could render ye. Duty of little or no Importance in their Sales; & 
this was actually the Case. For the Glass, during the Continuance 
of the Act, was sold at the same Price which it commanded before 
ye. Commencement of the Act. The true Reason of Opposition was 
this. The Inhabitants of the Colonies were a Race of Smugglers. 
They carried on an extensive Trade with the Dutch, not only in 
Holland, but very greatly with the Dutch Settlements in the West 

Indies & at Surrinam. Tea was the objective Part of the Act; & an 
enormous Quantity of it was consumed on the american Continent; 
so great, that I have heard a Gentleman of the Custom House in 
Boston, say, that could the Duty be fairly collected, it would amount 
to 160,000 p. Year, i.e. at iid p pound. In some of the Colonies, it 
was notorious that the smuggled Teas were carted through the 
Streets at Noon Day: whether owing to the Inattention or Con- 
nivance of the Custom House Officers, is not difficult to determine. 
The Smugglers then, who were the prevailing Part of the Traders 
in the Capitals of the several Provinces, found it necessary for their 
Interest, to unite in defeating the Operation of the Act; & Boston 
appeared in the Front of ye. Battle. Accordingly they beat to Arms, 
& manoeuvred in a new invented Mode. They entred into nonim- 
portation Agreements. A Subscription Paper was handed about, 
enumerating a great Variety of Articles not to be imported from 
England, which they supposed would muster the Manufacturers in 
England into a national Mob to support their Interests. Among the 
various prohibited Articles, were Silks, Velvets, Clocks, Watches, 
Coaches & Chariots-, & it was highly diverting, to see the names & 
marks, to the Subscription, of Porters & Washing Women. But every 
mean & dirty Art was used to compass all their bad Designs. One of 
those who handed about a Subscription Paper being asked, whether 
it could be imagined that such Tricks would effectuate their Pur- 
poses? He replyed "Yes! It would do to scare them in England:" & 
perhaps there never was a Nation so easy to be affrighted: witness 
the preceding Repeal of the Stamp Act. 


In order to effectuate their Purposes to have this Act repealed also, 
they formed many Plans of Operation. Associations were convened 
to prevent the Importation of Goods from Great Britain, & to oblige 
all those who had already sent for them, to reship them after their 
arrival. This was such an Attack upon the mercantile Interest, that 
it was necessary to use private evasive Arts to decieve the Vulgar. 
Accordingly, when the Goods arrived, they were to be in Ware- 
houses, which were to be guarded by a publick Key, at the same 
Time the Owners of the Stores & Goods had a Key of their Own. 1 

1 The following merchandise was prohibited by the local merchants: "Loaf Sugar, 
Cordage, Anchors, Coaches, Chaises and Carriages of all Sorts, Horse Furniture, Men 
and Womens Hatts, Mens and Womens Apparel ready made, Household Furniture, 
Gloves, Mens and Womens Shoes, Sole Leather, Sheathing and Deck Nails . . . , 

This amused the Rabble, whom the Merchants had set to mobbing; 
& such were the blessed Effects of some of those Merchants Vil- 
lainy, that Bales & Trunks were disgorged of their Contents & re- 
filled with Shavings, Brickbats, Legs of Bacon & other Things, & 
shipped for England-, where some of them were opened on the King's 
Wharves or Quays, & the Fraud discovered. Many of those Mer- 
chants also continued to import the prohibited Goods, in Disguise; 
of which a bold Printer of Boston detected them in his publick 
Papers; for which they, out of Revenge, in 1768, attempted to mur- 
der him; but narrowly escaping with his Life he fled to England, 
as the civil Power of the Country was not sufficient to protect any 
one who was obnoxious to ye. Leaders of the Faction. 2 

Another base Art was used. Under Pretence of (Economy, the 
Faction undertook to regulate Funerals, that there might be less 
Demand for English Manufactures. It was true indeed that the 
Custom of wearing expensive Mourning at Funerals, had, for many 
Years past, been noticed for Extravagance, & had ruined some Fami- 
lies of moderate Fortune; but there had been no Exertions to prevent 
it; 'till now, the Demagogues & their Mirmidons had taken the Gov- 
ernment into their Hands. But what at another Time would have 
been deemed oeconomical, was at this Time Spite & Malevolence. 
One Extreme was exchanged for another. A Funeral now seemed 
more like a Procession to a. May Fair; and Processions were lengthned, 
especially by the Ladies, who figured a way, in order to exhibit their 
Share of Spite, & their Silk Gowns. In short, it was unhumanizing 
the Mind, by destroying the Solemnity of a funeral Obsequy, & 
substituting the Gaiety of Parade in its Stead. The vulgar Maxim, 
that there is no Inconvenience without a Convenience, now took 
place; for whereas, formerly, a Widow, who had been well rid of 
a bad Companion, could conceal her Joy under a long black Vail, 
she was now obliged to use what Female Arts she was mistress of, in 

Wrought Plate of all Sorts, Diamond, Stone and Paste Ware, Snuff", Mustard, Clocks 
and Watches, Silversmiths and Jewellers Ware, Broad Cloaths that cost above IDS. 
per Yard, Muffs Furrs and Tippets, and all Sorts of Millenary Ware, Starch, Womens 
and Childrens Stays, Fire Engines, China Ware, Silk and Cotton Velvets, Gauze, 
Pewterers hollow Ware Linseed Oyl, Glue, Lawns, Cambricks, Silks of all Kinds for 
Garments, Malt Liquors & Cheese!' Schlesinger, The Colonial Merchants and the 
American Revolution, p. 107. 

2 John Mein published a list of violators of the nonimportation agreements in his 
Boston Chronicle. Schlesinger, "Propaganda and the Boston Newspaper Press, 1767- 
1770',' Tubs, of the Colonial Soc. of Mass., XXXII (1937), 412-413. 


order to transform her Joy into the Appearance of a more decent 
Passion, to impose upon the Croud of numerous Spectators. 3 

The Faction deluded their Followers with another Scheme to 
keep up the Ball of Contention, & to sooth their Hopes of Conquest. 
They plunged into Manufactures; &, like all other Projectors, suf- 
fered their Enthusiasm to stop their Ears against the Voice of Reason, 
which warned them of the ill Effects of their Projects. One of their 
Manufactures was to have been in Wool. They were advis'd against 
it; & informed, that all the Sheep in the Province of Massachusetts 
Bay, which most abounded in Sheep of any other Province, would 
not supply the Inhabitants of it with Wool to cloath their Feet; & 
that the Wool was of such a Staple as not to make a Cloth above 4/6 
p Yard Price; & that this would always be the Case; for tho' the Soil 
was equal to the raising a greater Number of Sheep, yet the Severity 
of the wintry Climate would prevent the Farmers Profit by propa- 
gating them under so great a Disadvantage. But if they were deter- 
mined to increase their Flocks, that they must practise the Method 
of one of their own Country Men, who said, that upon getting up 
early in a Morning he found half a dozen of his Sheep lying dead in 
his Yard, destroyed by the Wolves who had sucked their Blood & 
made off. He, finding them warm, used the expedient of tying an 
old & useless Horse, wch. he owned, to a Tree, & skinned him. He 
then skinned his dead Sheep, & applied their Skins to his Horse, 
which united well with ye. horse Flesh; & that he ever after sheared 
annually 40 Wool from his Horse. As Mankind are continually 
improving in the Arts and Sciences, the Factious might have as 
rationally tried this Experiment as they had tried that which they 
were now upon; they would have found old Horses enough for 
their Purpose, as well as another Race of Animals who most justly 
demerited a flaying for their Brutalities, & would have succeeded 
as well; for, after throwing away several hundred Pounds on their 
Manufactures, the residuum was a perfect Caput mortuumbut 
Advice is always thrown away upon an Enthusiast. 

Mr. Ottfs black Regiment, the dissenting Clergy, were also set to 
Work, to preach up Manufactures instead of Gospel. They preached 

3 "There's no inconvenience but has its convenience! 7 [Samuel Richardson], Clarissa, 
or the History of a Young Lady (London, 1748), II, 106. "Fifty merchants of Boston 
set an example in August, 1764, by signing an agreement to discard laces and ruffles, to 
buy no English cloths but at a fixed price, and to forego the elaborate and expensive 
mourning of the times for the very simplest display!' Schlesinger, The Colonial Mer- 
chants and the American Revolution, p. 63. 

about it & about it; untill the Women & Children, both within Doors 
& without, set their Spinning Wheels a whirling in Defiance of 
Great Britain. The female Spinners kept on spinning for 6 Days of 
the Week; & on the seventh, the Parsons took their Turns, & spun 
out their Prayers & Sermons to a long Thread of Politicks, & to much 
better Profit than the other Spinners; for they generally cloathed 
the Parson and his Family with the Produce of their Labor. This was 
a new Species of Enthusiasm, & might be justly termed, the En- 
thusiasm of the Spinning Wheel. 

An American is an adept in the Arts of Shrewdness. In these he 
is generally an Overmatch for a Briton, although he may sometimes 
fail in the Execution. As an Instance of each, take the following 
Anecdote of a Deacon of one [of] the dissenting Congregations in 
Boston, who imported large Quantities of Woolens from England. 
Hogarth drew his Line of Beauty for the Leg of a Chair; so this 
Person had sat so long in a Deacon's Seat, that the Muscles of his 
Face were so contracted into the Line of Sanctity, that he passed 
himself upon the World as a Man of great Reputation for Honesty. 
He was also a great Stickler for the Manufactures of America-, & in 
the Heighth of his pious Zeal for the good old Cause, wrote to his 
Correspondent in London about american Grievances; & informed 
him, that unless they were redressed, they not only could, but they 
would redress them their selves by making Cloths from their own 
Produce. As a Proof that they could do it, he sent Patterns of fine 
broad Cloths, which he said were manufactured in America. His 
Correspondent was surprized on seeing the Patterns, & shewed them 
to the Manufacturer of whom he had bought them. He also was 
surprized; but, on examination, told the Merchant that those were 
the very Cloths he had sold him to ship to Americasuch are the 
blessed Effects of Cant & Hypocrisy. 

The Nail Manufactory was also attempted, & this failed also. 
Thus by having so many Irons in the Fire, not only some, but all of 
them were burnt. Persons may pride their selves in the Possession 
of Sense, but if they are deficient in common Sense, they exhibit an 
ordinary Figure; & common Sense would have told them, that a 
Manufacturer who works for six Pence or eight Pence a Day can 
undersell him who will not work under two Shillings p Day: and 
this was the Case between Great Britain & America: but the, quos 
Deus vult perdere, prius dementat was the Obstacle that put a final 
Stop to their further Attempts. 4 

4 "Whom God would destroy he first drives mad!' 

All this Straggle & Uproar arose from the selfish Designs of the 
Merchants. They disguised their Private Views by mouthing it for 
Liberty. The Magick of this Sound echoed through the interior 
Parts of the Country, & the deluded Vulgar were charmed with it- 
like the poor harmless Squirrel that runs into the Mouth of the 
Rattlesnake, the Fascination in the Word Liberty threw the People 
into the harpy Claws of their Destroyers; & for what? But to gratifie 
the artfull Smugglers in carrying on their contraband Tea Trade 
with the Dutch, to make their deluded Consumers purchase at their 
Prices who were the Venders; for the Act of Parliament had reduced 
the Duties upon it from 12 d. p Pound to three Pence, with a View 
to prevent Smugling; which would effectually have prevented it, 
had the Act been in Force a few Years, and would have broke up the 
Nests of those worse than Highway Men; who, for many Years, had 
kept the Province in a Ferment, & created Uneasiness in the parent 

As for the People in general, they were like the Mobility of all 
Countries, perfect Machines, wound up by any Hand who might 
first take the Winch; they were like the poor Negro Boy, who, in 
the Time of the late Stamp Act, was bid by his Master, in the Eve- 
ning, to fetch something from his Barn; but did not move at the 
Command. His Master spoke to him with Severity, & asked him 
why he did not go as he was bid? The poor Wretch replied, with 
Tears in his Eyes, "me fraid Massah Tamp Act he catch me!' Thus 
the common People had had that Act, & all the Acts of Parliament 
since, dressed up by their seditious Leaders, either with raw Head & 
bloody Bones, or with Horns, Tails, & cloven Feet, which were suf- 
ficient to affright their weak Followers. And as for Men of Sense, 
who could see through the Delusion, it would have been imprudent 
for them to have interposed; for the Government was in the Hands 
of the Mob, both in Form & Substance, & it was in vain to combat 
a Whirlwind or a Hurricane. 

About this Time, his Majesty had appointed five Commissioners 
to oversee his Revenue arising from die Customs on Trade. 5 This 
gave a new Alarm to the Massachusetts Traders; but not so to some 
of the other Governments. For New York Province, it was said, of- 
fered 10,000 to have their Residence fixed there; for they saw the 
Advantages wch. would accrue from it. The Boston Merchants be- 
gan, at first, to muster; but some of them, who understood Trade 

5 These commissioners were Henry Hulton, John Temple, William Burch, Charles 
Paxton, and John Robinson. 

better than the others, were satisfied of the beneficial Consequences 
which would attend upon their being fixed in Boston, & brought the 
others to acquiesce in so salutary a Measure; for the true Design of 
the Act was, to take Care that the Custom House Officers should do 
their Duty, & deliver the Monies arising to the Revenue into the 
Commissioners Hands. This Part the Boston Merchants thought 
would be no Injury to their Trade, as they could as well bribe a Cus- 
tom House Officer now, as formerly they had done; but the Motive 
for Acquiescence was, the Powers with which the Commissioners 
were invested, of settling all Disputes between the Merchants & 
the Custom House Officers, which might arise; & had not been 

Those Disputes had formerly been considered & determined in 
England, at great Expence: but now they were relieved of their 
Burden, by a Settlement at their own Doors, at an inconsiderable 
Charge. This Consideration quieted for the present; but it did not 
last long; for, unhappily, one of the Commissioners was a Person who 
had been a Surveyor of the Customs for a great Part of North Amer- 
ica^ & was removed from that Office, where he made perhaps 1000 
p Year, to this office where he was seated at 500 p Year. To a Person 
who had certain Imperfections of Nature, which sometimes bor- 
dered upon Insanity, such a Change must be Irritating. Such a Salary 
was not sufficient to gratifie Pride & Extravagance; & he had a rich 
Father in Law to support him in Resentment. 7 He conducted his 
self in such a Behavior, as disrested his Bretheren Commissioners 
to so great a Degree as forced them to Applications which Effectu- 
ated his Removal from their Board; but he left behind him a Father 
in Law, whose Malice pursued them, as will be mentioned, when we 
arrive at the Year 1770, when the Riot against the Soldiers was per- 
petrated. The Board of Commissioners carried on their Business now, 
with too great Harmony to remain long unmolested by the Faction; 
& it was in a very short Time, that they were hunted with Cruelty; 
& the chace held on, 'till Rebellion had drove from his Country 
every Loyalist that could make his Escape; leaving the rest behind 
him to be persecuted with new invented diabolical Barbarities. 

6 John Temple (1732-98) was appointed surveyor general of customs in 1760 and 
lieutenant governor of New Hampshire a year later. He became one of the five com- 
missioners in 1767. During the years he and Governor Bernard carried on a fierce 
battle of insult and slander that ended in Temple's recall. He was accused of favoring 
the American smuggler. 

Temple's father-in-law was James Bowdoin (1726-90), famous patriot leader and 
enemy of the Hutchinsons and Olivers. 

We are now arrived to the Year 2768, frought with Novelties. For 
a Moment the Scene will be changed, from the Mob without Doors 
to the Mob within. Part of the Legislature was formerly called, his 
Majesty's Council; but it was generally a convertible Term, as being 
elected by the People; now it is a fixed Term, the Peoples Council: 
so that the Ballance of Government was destroyed, & Governor 
Barnard was left alone to combat both foreign & domestick Ene- 
mies. 8 His Firmness to his royal Master was distinguished. He was 
obliged to retreat at last from the Field, but he retreated with Honor 
equal to a Victory. The general Assembly now was more like to a 
Pandaemonium than to a Convocation of Senators. Mr. Otis huff 'd, 
swore, talked Treason. The rest of the House grinned horribly their 
ghastly Smile. The Council felt pleased, & the People loved to have 
it so. The House of Assembly wrote circular Letters to the other 
Provinces, summoning them to the Massachusetts Standard. Some 
appeared, wrote Petitions, & made Remonstrances, in which they 
uttered some Falshoods, alledging that no Monies had been raised 
upon them for the Purposes of a Revenue; whereas it was notorious, 
that they had paid an unscrupled Obedience to Acts of Parliament 
for those very Purposes, for a Century past. Some of the Provinces, 
indeed, did not comply, at first, with the Request made in their cir- 
cular Letters; & the Minister for the american Department wrote 
also his circular Letters to the non complying Provinces, approving 
their Conduct. Unhappily, the Minister was not acquainted with the 
Temper of an American. Perhaps his Silence might have kept them 
quiet a little longer; but the Moment he made the Distinction, they 
considered that their Sister Colonies would make a worse Distinc- 
tion, & directly repaired to the common Standard. It was unlucky at 
that Juncture; but all Wars are attended with Fatalities. 

The Iron was now hot, & the lower House of the Massachusetts 
Assembly repeated their Blows in quick Succession. They wrote to 
the Marquiss of Rockingham, Ld. Shelburne, some other Noble- 
men who had supported the Opposition in England, & who had also 
the Honor of beginning it. They thanked them for what they had 
already done for them; & complimented, soothed & flattered them 
into Perseverance; & those great Names, with some others of an in- 

8 Bernard to the earl of Hillsborough, Sept. 26, 1768, Houghton Library, Harvard 
University, Bernard Papers, VII, 62, "To speak Plain now the Council cooperate with 
the Opponents of Government, & they whose Business it is to advise & assist me do 
all they can to embarrass me; they who ought to join with me in executing the King's 
Commands are at the Head of those that oppose them, what can I do?" 

ferior Degree, kept the Ball up with so great Dexterity, as not to 
suffer It once to touch the Ground. Had they suffered it to Fall, they 
too would have fell into the same Rank with some Others, & would 
have had the honor of being tarred, feathered and burnt In Effigy. 
This perhaps, in the Stile of the Bathos, would have been deemed, 
soaring low; but the Flames of such a Martyrdom would have shone 
with a more splendid Lustre than those which they had already 
Spread, both In Great Britain & America. 

The English Minister, for the American Department, wrote to 
Govr. Barnard, that his Majesty was displeased with the circular Let- 
ters of the Assembly of his Province; & ordered the Governor to 
require the Assembly to rescind the Resolutions they had passed, 
relative thereto. This was not a Time for Compliance. The People 
now had arrived to their ne plus ultra. They bid Defiance to King, 
Lords & Commons; & at the same Time pleaded Duty to GOD & the 
King too; both of whom they paid as much Regard to, in their Pro- 
ceedings, as they did to the Emperor of China. The Governor was 
ordered, on their Refusal of rescission, to dissolve them. The As- 
sembly drew up a Letter to Lord Hillsborough, complaining of their 
Governors Misrepresentations of them to his Majesty, & justified 
their Proceedings as "having a natural Tendency to compose the 
Minds of his Majesty's Subjects in that and his other Colonies!' This 
Letter & the Answer to the Governor, filled with personal Abuses 
of a most able & f aithfull Servant of the Crown was substituted for a 
Rescission; upon which the Governor complied with his Sovereign's 
Commands, and dissolved them. 

Now the Frenzy was worked up & the Town of Boston, by their 
Select Men (who are an Order of Men appointed as Guardians of 
their respective Towns) were determined to have more last Words 
with great Britain-, & wrote their circular Letters to the other Towns 
of the Province, to chuse Members to meet in Boston at a general 
Convention, to petition his Majesty to interpose in their behalf 
against his Parliament. They met in September, & petitioned. The 
Governor seeing such an unlawf ull Assembly sent to them, to inform 
them of the Illegality of such a Convention; & the major Part of 
them, being alarmed at the bold Stroke, in a few Days dissolved their 
selves. 9 The other Provinces were not so active; but waited, for some 
Time, to see whether the Massachusetts would burn their Fingers 
before they thrusted their own Hands into the Fire; but they soon 

9 Sept. 29 (Oliver's note). 

found that the Heat was not high enough to scorch; & joined in some 
of the non Importation Agreements. 

An unlucky Affair happened this Year, 1768. The aforementioned 
Mr. Hancock had imported a Cargo of wines, & attempted to 
smuggle off the Duties. He had always a Mob at Command; & they 
mustered & beat off the Custom House Officers, who attempted to 
make a Seizure. Among those Officers was the Collector, a Gentle- 
man advanced in Life & of a most amiable Character. Him they beat 
& bruised, to the endangering of his Life. Brick bat Law is very par- 
tial, and its Decisions are very severe. The Mob also broke the Win- 
dows of the Collector, & of some others; & seized the Custom House 
Boat, & burnt her. 10 A Man of War, & Marines were near; but if two 
to one are odds, surely 100 to one will not make an Equality. The 
Vessell was afterwards tried as confiscable; & when the Trial came 
on, People's Minds had grown so callous by repeated Enormities, 
that the very Persons who had unloaded the Vessells, swore that they 
had not. 11 And the virtuous Mr. Hancock suffered them to foreswear 
themselves. This was in Fact the Case; for one of the Witnesses, who 
had thus sworn, was a Man of Substance & a great Smuggler, who 
took a great Cold on the Night that he helped to unload the Vessell, 
which terminated in a Consumption: wth. which he died some Time 
after. And on his Death Bed declared, that that Night's Work had 
pushed him into his Grave. Mr. Hancock also lost one of his best 
Captains of his Vessells, by overheating himself on that Night, who 
died with a Fever about 3 or 4 Days after. These are some of the 
Effects of Mr. Hancock's Vanity & Patriotism; & when he may view 
the List of his Crimes, with Rebellion bringing up the Rear, he may, 
possibly, blush to find that Vanity & Sam Adams had plunged him 
into Offences of so deep a Dye. 

The Mob again triumphed; the day as well as the Night was now 

10 Ramsay, History of the American Revolution, I, 79-80: "The bad humour . . . was 
about this time wrought up to a high pitch of resentment and violence, on occasion of 
the seizure of Mr. Hancock's sloop Liberty, for not having entered all the wines she 
had brought from Madeira They [the mob] used every means in their power to in- 
terrupt the officers, in the execution of their business; and numbers swore that they 
would be revenged. Mr. Harrison the collector, Mr. Hallowell the comptroller, and 
Mr. Irwine the inspector of imports and exports, were so roughly handled, as to bring 
their lives in danger. . . . Such was the temper and disposition of many of the inhabi- 
tants, that the commissioners of the customs thought proper to retire on board the 
Romney man of war; and afterwards to Castle William? 

l:L The Liberty was seized on June 10, 1768. Both the collector and comptroller were 
abused "none of them much hurt'* and the mob broke windows in the comptroller's 
house. Boston Weekly News-Letter, June 16, 1768. 

their own. A Custom House Officer was obliged to skulk from 
Stones & Brickbats; & the Commissioners of ye. Customs were 
obliged to repair on board the Romney Ship of War-, then in the Har- 
bor, for Protection; from this Place they applied to the Governor & 
Council for Protection; the Governor referred the Case to the Coun- 
cil, formerly called, his Majesty s Council-, who replied, "that the Dis- 
orders which had happened, were occasioned by the violent & un- 
precedented Manner in which the Seizure had been made by the 
Officers of the Customs" This was the ipse Dixit of the Council, 
without assigning any Reason for it; whereas Lawyers and impar- 
tial Merchants knew, & acknowledged, that the whole Proceeding 
in the Seizure was strictly agreeable to the Rules of Law. Unlucky 
Thoughts will intrude, involuntarily, into the Mind, & the sooner it is 
rid of them the better; for this trusty Council's Reply to the Gov- 
ernor brings to Recollection a Speech of a Man in Boston, who was 
noticed for uncommon Sallies of Expression. This Man, upon hear- 
ing that the general Assembly had passed some extraordinary Votes, 
broke out into this Exclamation. "If the D 1 don't take them Fel- 
lows we had as good have no D 1 at all!' Indeed, it was not to be 
much wondred at, that such a Resolve was passed; for Mr. Bowdoin, 
the Father in Law to the aforementioned Commissioner, bore great 
Sway in the Council. He was a Man, who had his full Share of Pride, 
Wealth & Illnature, & had been soothed, by that Son in Law, into a 
Perswasion of his being appointed to a Government; & his Son had 
differed with the other Commissioners of the Customs, & was a Fa- 
vorite of the Mob; for he only could walk at large, whilst his Breth- 
eren could be safe under the Protection of Cannon alone. 


But the Time was approaching, which promised some Degree of 
Protection to those who wished for the Restoration of Government. 
Two Regiments were ordered from Hallifax. This brought the rul- 
ing Powers into a Dilemma; some of them trembled at the Rod, oth- 
ers bullyed, hectored, & swore that they would kill them, as they 
landed & passed through the Streets; & actually proposed Methods 
of firing at them from the Windows of the Houses. Many People 
expected a Fracas; but when the Hour of Attack approached, the 
Novelty of a military Parade served but to amuse a vast Rabble; & 
even some of the Leaders of the Faction, went out & saluted the com- 
manding Officer on his Arrival Sept. 28, 1768. The Streets, & the 

Doors & Windows of the Houses, were crouded with Spectators to 
view the Procession. It happened, that a Lady was standing at her 
Door to enjoy her Share of it. At that Time, a Man passing by her, 
who had but just before hectored and bullyed, in her presence, that 
the Troops should never land, & that he would fight up to his Knees in 
Blood to prevent it: he, seeing her eye the Parade, spake thus to her, 
"What do you stand there for? I would not look at them!' She re- 
plied, "You are a very pretty Fellow! You said that you would fight 
up to your Knees in Blood, to destroy them, & you are now afraid 
to look at them!' 

The next Thing was, to provide the Troops with Quarters. The 
Town of Boston refused. 12 Had they been requested to furnish them 
with Halters, the Request would have been instantaneously com- 
plied with. These would have given the Inhabitants a full Swing at 
their wonted Riot. The Governor was now obliged to provide the 
Quarters himself, in the only Places where he could quarter them; 
one of which places was Faneuil Hall, the celebrated School for 
Catalines, & of Sedition. This was a great Shock to them. It was a 
Prophanation of their Sanctum Sanctorum. It must not be forgiven. 
They accordingly exorted their selves to pick Quarrells with the 
Soldiers; they insulted & abused them. 13 

Colo. Dalrymple, who was the first Officer in Command, was very 
prudent; & very strict in his Orders to the Troops, to bear the Insults, 
& not return them; & perhaps, Troops were never fortified with more 
Patience, or more obedient to Command. They cloathed themselves 
with Patience although the Dress did not become such an Order of 
Men so well as their old military Garb. But the new Dress soon grew 
thread bare & useless. Persons were imployed to provoke them, in 
Order to give Pretence for their Removal. 

A famous Bruiser was pitched upon for the Attack. He began with 
a Soldier, who was quite in Peace; the Soldier reasoned with him, & 
asked him, "why he abused an innocent inoffensive Man?" But 
Reason was of no avail against a determined Insult. The Soldier was 
determined not to resent. The Man challenged him to fight: the 

12 A particularly impressive account of the uncertainties of life in Boston can be ob- 
tained from Boston under Military Rule, 1768-1769, ed. Oliver Morton Dickerson 
(Boston, 1936). 

13 Bernard to Hillsborough, Sept. 23 and 24, 1768, Bernard Papers, VII, 56: "I am 
sorry to see this Spirit get so high in the Government. It can end in Nothing else but 
obliging the Troops to provide their own Quarters. I cannot act in this myself: All that 
there is left for me to do is to give up the Manufactory House for the use of the Troops. 
This I will do without the Council tho I foresee it will create a Clamour!' 

Soldier replied, "that his Officer had given him Orders to the con- 
trary!' At the last, the Man gave such an Affront as not only a Sol- 
dier, but even human Nature could not bear. He beat his Antagonist 
in such a Manner, which rather more than satisfied him. At that 
Juncture, Colo. Dalrymple stepped in, & ordered the Soldier off for 
Punishment, for Breach of Orders; but some, even of the Faction, 
who were present at the beginning of the Affray, pleaded in behalf 
of the Soldier; that the provocation was beyond a bearing; & so saved 
him from the Halbords. 

The Presence of two british Regiments was, at that Time a Re- 
straint upon Riots; & the Faction could not, by all their Stratagems, 
effectuate the Removal of them, untill the Year 1770, when Capt. 
Preston's Guard fired upon the Mob & killed 5 of them; as will be 
more particularly related when we arrive at that memorable ./Era; 
untill that Time, although the Interval was but short, yet it was ob- 
servable, that the Town of Boston had not been so free from Disor- 
ders for several Years past. Before, there was no safety for Persons in 
walking the Streets at Nights, free of Insults. Now, it was the Re- 
verse. The Soldiers were under so good Discipline, that they were 
peculiarly civil, when unmolested; & seemed rather to chuse to give 
Protection than Offence. 14 

It is never prudent to lose Time if it can be saved. The Faction left 
no Stone unturned, either in this Province, or by constant Corre- 
spondence with the neighbouring Provinces, to discourage the im- 
portation of british Manufactures. Some of the Merchants had 
already imported vast Quantities of them. They chose to monopo- 
lize, for there had been many of the Petty Shopkeepers, who former- 
ly purchased of them, had turned Merchants theirselves, & imported 
their own Goods. The Merchants in England were so fond of get- 
ting rid of their Goods, that they gave a Credit to any who asked for 
it, & to many who had no Estates at all; which they were soon con- 
vinced of, either by losing all, or a great Part of their Debts. It was 
therefore the Art of the great Traders to ruin the lesser ones, & en- 
gross the whole of the Business to theirselves; both which they, in 
some Degree, effectuated; & notwithstanding of their solemn Prom- 
ises & Subscriptions, they imported Goods enough for the Demand 
for them. Their little, low mercantile Arts would have shocked a 

14 Bernard to Hillsborough, Feb. 25, 1769, Bernard Papers, VII, 149: "I don't beleive 
there ever was an Instance of so large a Body of Troops (3 Regiments) quartered in a 
Town so licentious as this is, behaving so orderly, decently & quietly as these have 

modest Mind unversed in such Chicanery. The Ladies too were so 
zealous for the Good of their Country, that they agreed to drink no 
Tea, except the Stock of it which they had by them; or in Case of 
Sickness. Indeed, they were cautious enough to lay in large Stocks 
before they promised; & they could be sick just as suited their Con- 
venience or Inclination. Chocolate & Coffee were to be substituted 
for Tea; & it was really diverting, to see a Circle of Ladies about a 
Tea Table, & a Chocolate or Coffee Pot in the midst of it filled with 
Tea, one chusing a Dish of Chocolate, & another a Cup of Coffee. 15 
Such a Finesse would not only be a laughable Scene to a Spectator, 
but it must be a Fund of Mirth to theirselves, who framed such an 
evasive Conceit. 16 

As to the other Evasion of Sickness; there were many who could 
not afford to purchase a Quantity of Tea in Stock. They, poor Souls! 
were forced to take Turns to be sick, & invite their Acquaintance [s] 
to visit them; & so the Sickness went on by Rotation. There were 
others who could afford to keep a large Stock by them; & one of 
them, who was very warm in her Love to her Country & to Tea, de- 
clared that she would not drink any, after her present Stock was ex- 
pended; being asked, "what Stock of it she possessed"? Replied, "She 
had but one Chest in all"; & doubtless, if she had outlived her Stock, 
she would have been admitted into her Sexe's Hospital of Invalids. 

The Clergy also, were faithfull Laborers in their Master's Vine- 
yard; not only those who had worked hard from the beginning of 
the Day, but those who entred at the eleventh Hour. One of these 
pious Men, who had just came reeking hot from the publick Wor- 
ship, seeing the Rabble breaking the Windows of one who had dared 
openly to be an Importer; he made an Halt in the Crowd, with this 
Exclamation, "see how those Boys fight for us!' 

The Garretts now were crowded with the Rabble, in full Divan, 

15 Boston Gazette, Feb. 12, 1770: "The wise and virtuous Part of the fak Sex in Bos- 
ton and other Towns, who being at length sensible that by the Consumption of Tea, 
they are supporting the Commissioners and other famous Tools of Power, have volun- 
tarily agreed, not to give or receive any further Entertainments of that kind!' 

16 Boston Post-Boy, Nov. 16, 1767: 

Throw aside your Bohea and your Green Hyson Tea, 

And all things with a new fashion duty; 

Procure a good store of the choice Labradore, 

For there'll soon be enough here to suit ye; 

These do without fear, and to all you'll appear 

Fair, Charming, true, lovely and clever; 

Though the times remain darkish, young men may be sparkish, 

And love you much stronger than ever. 


with a Clergyman to prseside; whose Part was to declaim on Poli- 
ticks & Sedition, instead of propagating that Gospel of Peace, which, 
upon their entring into holy Orders, they had solemnly sworn to its 
divine Author to spend their Lives in inculcating. But they, pious 
Men, had learned of the aforementioned Smuggler, to tuck the -false 
Manifest in their Sleeve, when the Oath was administred to them. 
Gracious GOD! Is it possible, that Men, who had so solemnly devoted 
themselves to thy Service, could act with such Duplicity as to dis- 
grace even human Nature itself? Yes! it is possible, & the New Eng- 
land Clergy will be everlasting Monuments of the Disgrace. 

In one of those Night Garret Meetings, the entire Structure of the 
Babel of Confusion was very near to Destruction. The serpentine Dr. 
Cooper presided. The Crowd of factious Senators was great. Their 
Weight sunk the Floor; & they sunk with it no very great Damage 
was done. Had the Parson, like Samson, grasped the Pillars & been 
buried in the Ruins with his gaping Philistines, 17 he would have 
reared a Monument to his Fame wch. perhaps would have prevented 
the present Rebellion, or, in such Case, he might possibly have been 
buried in Oblivion, instead of surviving to commit such atrocious 
Acts as will perpetuate his Name with indelible Infamy. 

Thus, by nocturnal Meetings, Mr. Saml. Adams's Psalrn-singing 
Myrmidons; Comittees of Correspondence throughout the Province; 
Emissaries from one Colony to another upon the Continent; non- 
importation Agreements; the Ladies' new invented chymical Proc- 
ess, of transmuting Chocolate & Coffee into Tea; together with many 
other Arts, learn'd in the Schools of Folly, Madness and Rebellion, 
they so far accomplished their Purposes, as to intimidate the Parlia- 
ment of Great Britain into a partial Repeal of their late Act, of Duties 
upon Paper y Glass, Painters Colours <$* Tea-, the Tea Part of the Act 
was left unrepealed. This, the Colonies, for the present, acquiesced 
in. The Inch was given to them, and they well knew, from their for- 
mer Success at rioting, that they could take the Ell when it best 
suited them. The Tea grew scarce, & they were not averse to an 
Opening for a new importation, to stock theirselves with that & with 
such an enormous Quantity of English Goods, as might create a 
Debt to the english Merchants, to insure new Allies to theirselves; & 
such a Debt, which many of the Importers never designed to pay. 
They always had their Geniusses, who (by the Mob Whistle, as 
horrid as the Iroquois Yell which always tingled in the Ears of every 

17 Judges xvi.26-3o. 

one who had once heared It) could fabricate the Structure of Re- 
bellion from a single Straw. These were always ready for their 
Work; & it will nor be long before the ./Ediface is erected, & such a 
one that the Exertions of Great Britain could scarcely prostrate. 

I had forgot to mention one of the Tea Substitutes. It was a Vege- 
table, which the Labradore Coast abounds with, & which grows 
plenteously in the Eastern Parts of the Massachusetts Bay. It is a 
plant of an aromatick Flavor. This, the Clergy recommended: the 
Physicians, prudently, did not advise against it; & the People drank 
it but the Fashion of drinking it, like all other Fashions, soon was 
changed it brought on Disorders in Health; & among the rest a 
Vertigo, as fatal as that which they had brought upon themselves with 
Respect to Liberty; & had they continued in the Use of that, as long 
as they had in their Reveries about the other, Great Britain would 
have had but few Colonists to contend with. Perhaps it would have 
been more eligible for them to have died that Way than by the 
Sword, & the Pestilence which was the consequent upon it: this 
would have saved them from the accumulated Guilt of Murder, 
Treason & Rebellion. 


Posterity may be astonished, that Great Britain, the most power- 
full Nation in Europe, should suffer the Seeds of Rebellion, so widely 
disseminated in her Colonies, to spring up & take such deep Root; 
that, when it grew up, there was no destroying the Tares, without the 
Destruction of the Wheat at the same Time. But let it be remem- 
bered, that, from an Unacquaintance with the Temper of the Colo- 
nists, the Lenity of the Parent aimed to subdue the Stubbornness of 
the Child. It ought to have been known, that manual Correction is 
justifiable, & then only, where Refractoriness prevails. The Parent 
had felt the Effects of this Temper, when it blazed out at the Stamp 
Act. Had the Force of Enthusiasm been well understood, & what 
Power the dissenting Clergy had over the Minds of the People in 
America, it would have been a great Error in Politicks not to have 
suppressed the Growth of such a Weed, as hath poisoned both Old 
& New England. But the Americans had secured the Friendship of 
so many of the Seditious in England, that a Mist was cast around those 
whose Office it was to have suppressed the present, & to have pre- 
vented any future Commotions. Many Merchants in England, who 
were of a republican Cast, from Interest rather than from Principle, 
abetted the Americans in their Opposition to Government. They 

never considered how easy it is to raise the D 1, & how hard to lay 

him. They were told by the Americans, that the Manufacturers in 
England would be without Employment, & consequently they their- 
selves would have no Business to transact. This Expedient touched 
them in their sensible Part; & for the temporary Saving of a 2 1/2 p 
Cent Commission, they urged their Correspondents on to the Sub- 
version of Government; untill they have found, by a dear bought 
Experiment, that their american Debtors have plaid that D 1 
against them, which they theirselves had used their Exertions to raise. 


There was another Set of Men, of no ignoble Degree, who hav- 
ing ate their Cake & being turned away, cried to have their Cake 
again; & thought, that by encouraging the Revolt in America they 
should have it. These played their Game very assiduosly. They em- 
barrassed Government; they instigated their Clients to every Measure 
subverrive of it; who confiding in the Importance of their Patrons, 

plunged into every Species of Crime, undeterred by any Chastise- 
ment, while they had so secure a Shelter against whatever Storm 
might blow. The Clients complimented & flattered, & Compliments 
& Flattery were the sole Rewards the Patrons were honored with; 
except the Ignominy of distressing the publick Measures, & pushing 
their Country to the Verge of Destruction: 

Semper honos, nonienque tuum, laudesque manebunt. 1 
Amongst the rest, though not equal in Dignity, was a most eccen- 
trick Character, who had been a Governor of an american Province. 2 
He had signalized himself by a Routine of Metaphysical Exhibitions, 
political Chicanery, & Duplicity, puerile Behavior & other Tricks of 
high & low Cunning, just sufficient to render himself an Object of 
universal Despicience. This Person being ousted of all Preferments, 
& ever fond of running his Hands in the Fire, although he had 
often burnt his Fingers with it, thought this to be a Crisis to exert 
his Talents. He corresponded with the Faction, many of whom, dur- 
ing his Administration, he was personally acquainted with. One of 
the Letters contained these treasonable Expressions, vizt. "this is the 
important Crisis, to make a solemn, sullen, united & invincible Stand 
against the cruel, tyrannous & ruinous System of Policy, adopted by 
this Legislature, against the Rights & Freedom of America" Again 
"one & all firmly resolve to establish a solemn League & Covenant, 
& under an Oath or Affirmation, not to purchase or use the Manu- 
factures of this Country, &ca!' This Man was at that Time a Mem- 
ber of the british Senate. It cannot then be wondered at, when that 
Palladium of the Constitution harbored, within its Bosom, such vene- 
mous Animals, that the whole Nation should be gnawed & poisoned 
almost to Death by the Vermin. 

There was another Mock Patriot (yes! another, & another too) 
who corresponded with a Junto of the Faction in Boston: John 
Wilkes Esqr? He had raised his Reputation, by being drawn in his 
Carriage by Asses instead of Horses; & Asses he ever after esteemed 

l 'Thy honor, thy renown, and thy praises shall be everlasting!' 

2 Obviously this reference is to Thomas Pownall (1722-1805) , the governor of Massa- 
chusetts from 1757 to 1760, who corresponded with many of the Sons of Liberty. He 
was the brother of John Pownall, secretary of the Board of Trade and author of The 
Administration of the Colonies, which was first published in London in 1764 and then 
enlarged and revised in many editions until 1777. Schutz, Thomas Potonall: British 
Defender of American Liberty (Glendale, Calif., 1951 ), pp. 181-214. 

3 John Wilkes (1727-97), who had challenged the powers of king and parliament in 
the 1 760*5, became a symbol for Americans. Horace Bleackley, Life of John Wilkes 
(London, 1917), pp. 243-244. 

as the most noble Animal. The Correspondence wth. this Junto 
was supported for some Time: he training them up in the Way they 
should not have gone, & they praising his Virtues and giving him a 
faithfull Account of the Progress they made in the School of Sedi- 
tion: untill, at the last, having outdone his Outdoings they unwarily 
blabbed it out to him, that they designed to establish an Independ- 
ence of their own. This piqued his Pride as a Briton. He replied, "I 
never will give up the Supremacy of Great Britain" This Answer 
roused them into Contempt, & John Wilkes Esqr. was ever after a 
Scoundrel & a Rascal <#g#0 compesca labellum* Let this, perhaps 
single, meritorious Act of his, atone for a Multitude of his lesser Of- 
fenses; although some of his greater Crimes are almost inexpiable. 
A certain Dr. Lee was another Agent for the Faction. 5 Mr. Samuel 
Adams, & some others, wrote to him a long Catalogue of false 
Facts; & Dr. Lee published them in England, & doubtless made his 
Penny by the Sale. Numbers were sent to Boston, & Adams made 
Presents of some of them to the Inn Keepers in the Country, to fur- 
nish their Guests with a Stimulant to eating & drinking. Bitter in- 
deed they were, for they were wrote with a Pen dipped in the Gall 
of Asps. It is lucky for some Writers, that they have no Reputation 
to lose; if they had, even Arthur Lee would not have run the Risque 
of that small Proportion he might possess, for the Sake of gratifying 
the Malignity of his Correspondents. 


There was one Person more who might, now, be termed, the in- 
star omnium of Rebellion. The Features of whose Soul were so 
minutely expressed in the Lines of his Countenance, that a Gentle- 
man, whose Acumen was so great as to strike out a Character from 
a very slight View of a Face, was introduced to his Company many 
Ifears since; and upon his being asked his Opinion of the Man, he 
replied, "that he was calculated to set a whole Kingdom in a Flame!' 
This was his Opinion of Dr. Benjamin Franklin. 

This Narrative hath been frequently interrupted by ye. Descrip- 
tion of Characters; but it seemed necessary to describe, when the 
Persons introduced theirselves upon the Stage. Let this suffice for 
Apology. It is now Dr. Franklyn's Turn to sit for his Portrait; & I 

4 "Check the lip with the finger" i.e., enough said I 

5 Arthur Lee (1740-92), essayist, agent for Massachusetts, and confrere of John 
Wilkes, was a propagandist who used the style of Junius to publicize American griev- 


shall endeavor to sketch the Outlines: perhaps I may catch a Feature 
or two as I go on with the Narrative. 

Dr. Benjamin Franklin was a Native of Boston in the Massa- 
chusetts Bay. He was born in 1706, of very reputable Parents. His 
Father was a capital Tallow Chandler, & a worthy honest Man. His 
Brother also was a Man held in very good esteem. The Doctor him- 
self was what is called a Printers Devil, but, by a Climax in Reputa- 
tion, he reversed the Phrase, & taught us to read it backward, as 
Witches do the Lords Prayer. He worked at the Business of the 
Press untill he went to England, & continued in London for about 
two Years, to perfect himself in the Art, & black as the Art was be- 
fore, he made it much blacker, by forcing the Press often to speak 
the Thing that was not. He published a Libel in Boston, for which 
he was obliged to quit. He fled to Rhode Island, the Asylum for 
those who had done what they ought not to have donefrom thence 
he went to Philadelphia, & settled in the printing Business. The 
Philadelphia News Paper w r as published by him; & the Almanacks 
of Poor Richard, which he annually struck off, were interlaced with 
many usefull Observations in Agriculture & other Sciences. 

Dr. Franklin (pardon the Expression) was cursed with a full 
Share of Understanding; he was a Man of Genius, but of so un- 
principled an Heart, that the Merit of all his political & philosophical 
Disquisitions can never atone for the Mischiefs which he plunged 
Society into, by the Perversion of his Genius. He had such an In- 
sight into human Nature, that he insinuated himself into various 
publick Departments in the Province of Pennsilvania, at last ar- 
rived to the Office of one of the Post Masters in America, a Place 
worth 4 or 500. Sterling p Year. He was now released from the 
necessary Cares for a moderate Support; & was at Leisure to indulge 
in what might first strike his Fancy. He invented a Fire Stove, to 
warm Rooms in the northern Climates, & at the same Time to save 
Fuel; he succeeded: but, at the same Time, they were so destructive 
of Health that they fell into Disuse. He also invented a Chamber 
Urn contrived to make the Flame descend instead of rising from the 
Fire: upon which a young Clergyman of a poetical Turn, made the 
following Lines, vizt. 

Like a Newton, sublimely he soar'd 

To a Summit before unattain'd, 
New Regions of Science explor'd, 

And the Palm of Philosophy gain'd. 


With a Spark that he caught from the Skies 
He display'd an unpararelTd Wonder, 

And we saw, with Delight & Surprize, 

That his Rod would defend us from Thunder. 

Oh! had he been Wise to pursue 
The Track for his Talents design' d, 

What a Tribute of Praise had been due 
To the Teacher & Friend of Mankind? 

But, to covet political Fame 

Was in him a degrading Ambition, 
A Spark that from Lucifer came, 

And kindled the Blaze of Sedition. 

Let Candor then write on his Urn, 
Here lies the renowned Inventor, 

Whose Flame to the Skies ought to burn, 
But, inverted, descends to the Centre. 6 

Agreeable to the Hint given in the above Lines, the Doctor had 
made some new Experiments in Electricity, which drew the Atten- 
tion of the Literate, as well as of the great Vulgar & the Small. The 
Eclat, which was spread from some new Phenomena he had dis- 
covered in this Science, introduced him into some of the first Com- 
pany in England, whither he came, soon after he struck out these 
new Scenes. Men of Science gave their Attention, and others, of no 
ignoble Degree, gaped with a foolish Face of Praise; & it was this 
Circumstance, lucky for him, but unlucky for Great Britain & her 
Colonies, which gave such a Shock to Government, & brought on 
such Convulsions, as the english Constitution will not be cured of 
in one Century, if ever. By this Introduction, he grew into Impor- 
tance with the Leaders of the Opposition in England. They found 
him to be usefull to them, in their Attempts, to subvert the Founda- 
tions of Government, & they caught at every Circumstance that 
Chance threw in their Way. They knew him to be as void of every 
Principle as thekselves, & each of them play'd into the others Hands. 
The Doctor play'd his Card well, & procured the Agency of some 

^Gentleman's Magazine, XLVII (1777), 188. Composed by a Reverend Mr. Jonathan 
Odell, an Episcopal clergyman of Brunswick, N.J. 

of the Colonies; & the lower House of Massachusetts Assembly chose 
him for theirs. I have seen Letters from him to the latter, inciting 
them to a Revolt, at the same Time when he enjoyed the above lucra- 
tive Office from the Crown; but he was so abandoned to an utter 
Insensibility of Virtue or Honor, that he would not stick at any 
Villainy to gratifye his Pride. 

When the Stamp Act was on the Tapis, he encouraged the passing 
of it; & procured, for one of his Friends, the Appointment of a Stamp 
Master. 7 He procured the Government of New Jersies for his Son; 
who hath behaved with a spirited Fidelity to his Sovereign to this 
Day. But his unnatural Treatment of this Son will fix upon him an 
indelible Reproach; for when the Son was about to imbark for his 
Government, he was in Arrears 100 Sterling, & could not leave 
England without discharging them. The Father refused to assist 
him, & a private Gentleman, out of Compassion, lent him the Mony 
and this Son afterwards was harrassed for his Loyalty & kept in a 
Gaol as a Prisoner in Connecticut, where he suffered greatly his self 
& where he lost his Lady, through Hardships. All this he underwent, 
whilst his humane Father had the Control of the Congress, & never 
attempted his Release. This fixes a Character which a Savage would 
blush at. 8 Whilst he was in England, he travelled from one manu- 
facturing Town to another, spreading Sedition as he went, & prog- 
nosticating the Independance of America-, & notwithstanding all the 
Civilities he met with here, & the Bounties of the Crown, he after- 
wards boasted, in an intercepted Letter to his american Friends, 
of humbling this huckstering Nation, as he politely & gratefully 
termed them. Surely! his patriotick Friends in England must have 
Souls callous to every virtuous Feeling, to support a Man, whose 
every Exertion tends to the Ruin of his Country. 

After the Destruction of Lieut. Govr. Hutchinsorfs House in 
1765, Dr. Franklin maintained a familiar literary Correspondence 
with him, & condemned the Opposition of the Faction to him. Yet 
this very Man, a Traitor to his Friend as well as to his Country, set 
another abandoned Man to filch, from a Gentleman's File of Letters, 

7 Franklin did not propose the Stamp Act but did suggest a scheme for an equivalent 
revenue. His actions and ideas at this period of his life are still being traced by scholars. 

8 William Franklin (1731-1813), illegitimate son of Benjamin Franklin, had the politi- 
cal support of Lord Halifax and the earl of Bute. For a time during the American Rev- 
olution he was imprisoned at East Windsor, Conn. The elder Franklin was not in Eng- 
land at the time when Oliver reports this refusal to lend money. He was, in fact, pleased 
to hear of the appointment. Donald L. Kemmerer, Path to Freedom: The Struggle for 
Self-Government in Colonial New Jersey 1703-1776 (Princeton, 1940), pp. 275-276. 


left in his Custody by a deceased Brother, a Number of confidential 
ones wrote by Mr. Hutchinson to that Brother, which did Honor 
to the Writer; & had they been attended to by Government, would 
in all Probability have put a Stop to the present Rebellion. This 
base Theft brought on a Duel between the Thief & the Proprietor 
of the Letters. The Latter nearly lost his Life, being unacquainted 
with the Sword; but fought upon the false Principle of Honor, be- 
cause he must fight; & carried off those Marks in his Back which 
Swordsmen pronounced of the murderous Kind. Upon a hearing of 
the State of this Transaction, before the King and Council, Dr. 
Franklin, with the Effrontery of that Countenance where Virtue 
could never raise a Blush, took the Theft upon himself; & was dis- 
carded by every Man who felt any Regard to Propriety of Character. 
It may, with strict Justice, be said of the Doctor, what Churchill 
says of his Hero in the Duellist, 

of Virtue, 

Not one dull, dim Spark in his Soul, 

Vice, glorious Vice, possess' d the whole; 

And in her Service truly warm, 

He was in Sin, most Uniform. 9 

Pride is Dr. Frankliris ruling Passion, & from this Source may be 
traced all the Actions of his Life. He had a Contempt of Religion, 
of Mankind, & even of those whom he had duped; & had he viewed 
ye. Subject in a moral Light, he would have contemned hisself. Had 
Churchill drawn his Character, instead of saying, as he did of his 

And shove his Savior from the Wall He would have changed his 
Phrase into an d shove his Savior, God & AIL 

He is now caressed at that perfidious Court, where it would have 
been Thought; further Instructions were not necessary; untill this 
Adept in the Science of Perfidy appeared, like a blazing Meteor, & 
has taught them, that all their former Knowledge was but the first 
Rudiments of their Grammar; & has qualified them for Professors 
in that Art which they were too well acquainted with before. This 
Hatred to the english Nation is so rivetted that it is no Breach of 
Charity to suppose, that when he makes his Exit: 

Such, in those Moments as in all the past 
Ye Gods! let Britain sink! will be his last. 

9 CharIes Churchill, The Duellist. A Poem (London, 1764) , p. 38, 11. 2-6. 
10 Ibid., p. 33,1.16. 


To avoid Anachronism & another Digression, I will decypher ye. 
Character of Mr. John Adams, Dr. Franklin's Colleague in the Con- 
gress Agency at the Court of France. Mr. Adams was born at a 
Town, not far from Boston, of Parentage not very distinguishable. 
It is generally supposed, that he & Mr. Samuel Adams were nearly 
related; but I believe, that there is no Relation, either by Affinity 
or Consanguinity, except in their united Endeavors in raising & sup- 
porting the present Rebellion; & here, one Soul informs both. Mr. 
J. Adams was, also, educated at Harvard College in Cambridge-, & 
after he was graduated, was employed as a Schoolmaster to Children 
of both Sexes, in a Country Town. 11 This Employment is generally 
the Porch of Introduction to the sacred Office, in New England; 
but Mr. Adams chose to pass from this Porch by the same Way he 
entred & try his Genius in the Practice of the Law. He is a Man of 
Sense, & made a Figure at the Bar; but whether Nature had neglected 
him, or he had acquired, his self, an Acrimony of Temper by his 
Busbyan Discipline, which he was remarkable for; certain it is, 
that Acrimony settled into Rancor & Malignity by having an abso- 
lute Authority over Children, he was determined to raise hisself to 
a Superiority which he had no claim to; & he unguardedly confessed, 
in one of his Sallies of Pride, that "he could not bear to see anyone 
above him" Whilst he was young at the Bar, he behaved with great 
Modesty; & as it is a general Misfortune incident to Gentlemen of the 
Bar, to brow beat their Inferiors, so, when any of his Seniors took 
Advantage of him in this Way, the chief Justice Mr. Hutchinson 
would, with his usual Humanity, support him, as well as show him 
other Marks of Respect, out of Court; but this Chief Justice, in a 
short Time, found that there is no Corner in a jealous malignant 
Heart for Gratitude to creep into. 

Mr. Adams, being a sensible Lawyer, was for some Time, friendly 
to Government; but being in pursuit of a Commission for the Peace, 
Sr. Francis Barnard, the then Governor refused him. This Refusal 
touched his Pride, & from that Time, Resentment drove him into 
every Measure subversive of Law and of Government, & interwove 
him with the factious Junto. 

Mr. Otis, the original Malecontent, had now outrun himself; & 
Samuel Adams had taken his Birth. Ofts 1 , by drinking, & by Passion, 

"John Adams (1735-1826), after taking his Bachelor's degree from Harvard College, 
taught in Worcester, Mass., and studied law in his spare time. 

had brought his Business as a Lawyer, & his Finances, to a very low 
Ebb. 12 Indeed, the Faction had so little Need of him, that they mod- 
estly dropped him (he was left out as a Representative in 1770), 
as they had done others who had served them, & of whom they stood 
in no further Need. They had now much abler Men, both in Policy 
& in Law, who could secrete the Measures which the other's open 
Temper was too apt to disclose. This Exchange was a great Advan- 
tage to Faction. Otis being piqued at this Revolution, said of his 
Brother John Adams, that "he was a d d Fool for not taking 
Warning by his Fate!' How prophetick this Observation may be, 
Time alone may discover; but Madmen have, sometimes, uttered 
Truths which were neglected at the Time of Utterance. 


I have now, Sir! parted with my disagreeable Company & return 
to my Narrative. The ludicrous Tea drinking Scene I left off at. I 
will introduce You to one of a serious Nature, such as will rouse 
the Feelings of Humanity. We have hitherto passed through the 
different Forms of Governments, of Democracy & Oligarchy, down 
to Anarchy. We are now arrived to the last Stage of all, hitherto 
unknown in the political World, a Dcemonocracy. 

In the beginning of March 1770, a Mob was in Pursuit of a Cus- 
tom House Officer^ who was obnoxious to the Smugglers. 14 He 
repaired to his House, as his Castle; they, at Noon Day, laid Seige 
to it. He being a Man of Spirit, like a true Veteran, determined to 
hold out to the last Extremity. He armed himself with Musket & 
Ball, & warned them against entring. They, regardless of his Threats 
& Intreaties, broke his Windows & Doors: upon which he fired at 
Random, & killed an innocent Boy 15 who was crossing the Street. 
This enraged the Mob, & they attempted to take him; but he made 
a gallant Defence, & refused to deliver himself to them, as being 
morally certain, that Death would be the immediate Consequence 
of his Surrender to them; but he, at the same Time, told them that 

^Siblefs Harvard Graduates, XI (1960) , 280-282. 
13 Richardson (Oliver's note) . 

14 The riot occurred on Feb. 22, 1770. Oliver's description of the riot and trial of 
Ebenezer Richardson checks very well with the account given in Hutchinson, History 
of ... Massachusetts-Bay, III, 193-194. 

15 Christopher Snyder (Oliver's note) , 

he would submit himself to a Peace Officer. 16 Peace Officers were 
sent for; but it was, with their utmost Exertions, that they could 
prevent his being murdered before they could house him in Prison. 
As the Term of the supreme Court was very near, and they thought 
that the Blood of the unhappy Youth which had been spilt would 
not be cold before the Court met; & as they were pretty sure that 
they could procure a Jury for Conviction, so some of the Leaders 
of the Faction chose that he should be hanged by the Forms of Law, 
rather than suffer the Disgrace of Hangmen theirselves. 

Perhaps you may ask me, what is meant by procuring a Jury for 
Conviction? It requires some Explanation. Know then, that the Law 
of the Massachusetts Province pointed out the following Mode of 
returning Jurors, vizt. the Select Men, at certain Periods, pitched 
on a Number of Freeholders to serve in that Office; the inferior 
Order of Men were put into one Box, to serve at the inferior Courts. 
Another Set of Men, of superior Understandings, were put into 
another Box, to serve at the supreme Court. When the Terms of 
either Court approached, the Select Men, with a Constable, met & 
drew out, as in a Lottery from either Box, agreeable to the Venire 
they were served with. This Mode seems equitable, & it was un- 
exceptionably practised, untill the late Times of Confusion: but now, 
a new Form of Government had been instituted in this Province. 
They thought it necessary that new Modes of Law should coincide 
with them. Accordingly, the Select Men of Boston would draw out 
of the Lottery Box; & if any popular Cause was to be before the 
Court, & that drawn Juror was not like to serve their Cause, they 
would make some Excuse for the absent Man, either that he was sick 
& would not be well, or he was going [on] a Journey or Voyage; & 
so return his Name into the Box, & draw untill they drew him who 
was for their Purpose. The Regis ad Exemplum took Place, & some 
other Towns followed Suit 17 thus was the supreme Court harrassed 
with these political Manoeuvres. 

It very unluckily happened, that about a Week after the fore- 
mentioned killing, the Affair of the Soldiers firing upon the Inhabi- 
tants was acted. These two Circumstances brought on the final Close 
of Law & Justice. The Supreme Court met on the zd. Tuesday of 

16 Richardson was saved from the angry crowd by the interposition of "Gentlemen of 
influence" who arranged for his arrest. Boston Weekly News-Letter, March i, 1770; 
Censor, March 28 (pp. 75-78) and April 4, 1772 (pp. 79-82) . 

17 "By the example of the king! 1 These new forms of procedure were copied by the 
other towns, in all the bombast of the original. 

this Month, March. The Judges thought, that the present Rage of 
the People would preclude a fair Trial, either of the Custom House 
Officer or the Soldiers. They rather chose to postpone the Trials, 
untill there might be some Chance of Justice being uninterrupted; 
but it was not in their Choice; for the Madness of the People called 
aloud for Revenge; & had a Trial been refused, it was rather more 
than an equal Chance that the Prisoners would have been murdered 
by the Rabble; & the Judges have been exposed to Assasinations. 

The Trial of the Custom House Officer came on. But the unhappy 
Man, though guiltless in Law, fell into the Hands of Tygers, whose 
tender Mercies were Cruelty. They brought him in guilty, tho' they 
were from 1 1 o'clock at Night untill eight of the Clock next Morn- 
ing before the Verdict was settled, there hap'ning to be one cool 
Head among the twelve Jurors; as will be presently seen. There was 
a vast Concourse of Rabble at the Trial, who designed to have hanged 
the Prisoner as he came out of the Court House, to be returned to 
Prison untill the Jurors Verdict was settled; & they provided an 
Halter, ready at the Door of the Court Room, for the Purpose; but 
the Court had ordered the Sheriff, with the Peace Officers, to lock 
him into the Court Room, untill the Mob had dispersed; this took 

Authority of Courts of Law were now of little Force. Forms were 
maintained without much Power: & during this Trial, whilst one 
of the Judges was delivering his Charge to the Jury, & declaring his 
Opinion, that the Case was justifiable Homicide, one of the Rabble 
broke out, "D n that Judge, if I was nigh him, I would give it 
to him"; but this was not a Time, to attempt to preserve Decorum; 
Preservation of Life was as much as a Judge dared to aim at. 

The next Morning, the Verdict was brought in, Guilty, but the 
Verdict was guilty of tenfold greater Criminality than the Prisoner. 
At Acquittals, there is often an Huzza of Joy in the Hall of Justice; 
but it is singular at a Conviction. But now, the Court Room re- 
sounded with Expressions of Pleasure; 'till, even one of the Faction, 
who had some of the Feelings of Humanity not quite erased, cried 
out, "for Shame, for shame Gentlemen! "This hushed the clamor- 
ous Joy. The Verdict was received & recorded. 18 

A few Days after, the Jurors were inquired of the Foundation of 
their Verdict. The Foreman, with a sullen Pride of Revenge, replied, 

ls The Censor, April 4, 1772, p. 81, reported that the verdict was received with a 
"general shout and clapping in the Court" concluding that the reaction was partly in- 
spired by the clergy and others who had been discoursing on the law from their pulpits. 


"that he was not obliged to give any Reasons of his Conduct!' The 
others shewed less of a Temper of sullen Revenge. One of them said, 
"that he should have acquitted the Prisoner, had the killing happened 
in the Night instead of the Day!' In either Case, the Law had justified 
the Prisoner. Some of them acknowledged, that, as they past thro' 
the Mob, from the Court to their Apartment, they were called upon 
to bring the Prisoner in guilty. One of the Jurors declared, that he 
thought him innocent, & had persisted all Night in that Opinion, 
against the united Sentiment of the other eleven; but in the Morning, 
after a tedious whole Nights Fatigue, his Bretheren overperswaded 
him to unite with them, by urging this Argument upon him, vizt. 
"that the Court had delivered their Opinion, in Law, that the Prisoner 
was innocent, & that his Life would be saved; therefore, that it was 
not worth while to stand out any longer!' These Arguments alone, he 
said, prevailed with him to join with the others in their Verdict. 
Upon the foregoing Reasons, the Court refused to pass the Sentence 
of Death, & recommended him to Mercy; when, after an Imprison- 
ment of a twelve month, he obtained a Pardon. In the mean Time, 
the Judges were insolently called upon by the Faction, to order 
Execution; but they refused. The Pardon, at last, came from Eng- 
land-, & at one of the Terms, he pleaded it, & was discharged lucky 
for the Prisoner. At the Time he pleaded it, the Rabble were assem- 
bled in Town Meeting, at some Distance from the Hall of Justice. 
The Prisoner fled the Town immediately on his Discharge; the Rab- 
ble heard of it, Si pursued him to execute their own Law upon him, 
but he happily escaped. 


The popular Rage against this Custom House Officer was a prel- 
ude to what succeeded. The Faction insisted upon the Trial of the 
Soldiers at this Term. The Judges knowing the daemonocrarick 
Thermometer to be some Degrees above boiling Heat, refused to 
bring the Trial on; the Bar also advised to an Adjournment, as they 
theirselves, as well as the Court, had been fatigued with the Business 
of the Term in this County, & the Country Terms were approaching 
in quick Succession. The Faction, upon hearing the Design of the 
Court, were very restive. The Leaders of the Faction met at the 
House of Mr. Temple, a Commissioner of the Customs with 5oo p. 
year Salary; & from thence a Party came into the Court, & inso- 
lently insisted on an immediate Trial of Capt. Preston & his Soldiers. 

Two of the Heads of this Faction (for poetick Fiction says that the 
Hydra has an hundred) appeared in the Front, John Hancock & 
Samuel Adams, who had just parted from that pious Divine Dr. 
Cooper. But the Judges were determined, & adjourned to August 

When August arrived, one of the Judges, who lived at a Distance 
from Boston, & was on his Journy to Court, met with a Misfortune, 
by a Fall from his Horse, & could not proceed. The Peoples Ex- 
pectations for Revenge were much raised, & the Heat of the then 
Dog Days did not tend to lower them. They urged for a Trial, but 
the three Judges, out of five which constituted the Court, finding 
that there was but a bare Quorum, & considering this Trial to be a 
Matter of great Importance, resolutely refused to proceed on it, & 
adjourned to the Month of November. Massachusetts lies in a north- 
ern Latitude. November is a cold Month; & when it arrived, the 
Thermometer had lowered much. The Trial came on & although it 
lasted many Days, yet the Jury took it from the Court; & after a 
short Retirement, for a few Minutes, for Form Sake, return'd their 
Verdict, not guilty. 

This last Trial was a Matter of great Expectation throughout the 
Colonies, & of great Speculation in England. If you ask me why I 
am so diffuse upon these Trials I must inform You, that very much 
of the consequent Rebellion arose from these Incidents. The Sparks 
of it had been long hovering, but they were now collected into a 
Focus, & burst into Flame. Such an Opportunity had been long 
waited for, by the Faction, to rush into the Heat of Battle: and I 
trust you will excuse ine, if I relate the Fracas of the Soldiery with 
some Minuteness, as it hath been too little understood, & Misrepre- 
sentations made of it; whereas, it was an Affair that had been previ- 
ously planned by the Faction, & on which they relyed much for the 
Operation of their Measures to bring on their Independence on Great 
Britain. The Case stood thus. 

The 2 Regiments from Hallifax had been arrived five or six 
Months. They were, what is vulgarly called an Eye Sore, to the 
Inhabitants of Boston. They restrained the Rabble from committing 
their accustomed Outrages, & this was termed a Restraint of that 
Liberty which God & Nature had blessed them with. The In- 
habitants therefore used every Art of Irritation; & when the Soldiers 
were returning to their Evening Quarters, they met with repeated 
Abuses; untill, at last, Provocations followed so thick upon one an- 
other, that the Soldiers rightly judging that God & Nature had 


blessed them with as much natural Liberty as they had the In- 
habitants of Boston, they returned Compliments for Compliments, 
& every Blow was answered by a Bruise. This Scheme not effec- 
tuating their Purposes, the Inhabitants combined, in great Numbers 
to make a general Assault & carry the Works by Storm. They pro- 
vided themselves with massy Clubs, a new Manufacture of their 
own: Guns they imagined were Weapons of Death in the Eye of 
the Law, which the meanest of them was an Adept in; but Bludgeons 
were only Implements to beat out Brains with. When they were 
ready, they fixed upon the Time of Assault; & it came on thus. 

The Kings Monies were lodged in the Custom House. From sev- 
eral Threatnings being thrown out, those Monies were thought 
insecure, & a Centinel was appointed to guard them. According to 
common Custom, when a Riot was to be brought on, the Factioneers 
would employ Boys & Negroes to assemble & make Bonfires in the 
Streets; & when all were ready, the Mob Whistle, already men- 
tioned, with sometimes the Mob Horn in Unison, would echo 
through the Streets, to the great Terror of the peaceable Inhabitants. 
Those Boys & Negroes assembled before the Custom House, & 
abused ye. Centinel; he called for Aid, & a Party of eight Soldiers 
were sent to him. This Party was headed by a young Officer; Capt. 
Preston, an amiable, solid Officer, imagining that the other would 
not behave with that Prudence which the Occasion demanded, took 
the Command upon his self. 

By this Time, there were 4 or 500 of the Rioters collected; the 
Rioters pelted the Soldiers with Brickbats, Ice, Oystershells & broken 
Glass Bottles. Capt. Preston behaved with great Coolness & Pru- 
dence. The Rioters calling out "Damn You fire, fire if you dare!" & 
Capt. Preston desiring them to be quiet, and ordering his Men not 
to fire. But at last, a Stout Fellow, of the Mob, knocked down one 
of the Soldiers; & endeavoring to wrest his Gun from him, the 
Soldier cried, D n you fire" pulled Trigger & killed his Man. 19 
The other Soldiers, in the midst of the Noise, supposing it was ye. 
Captain who gave the Order, discharged their Pieces, & five Persons 
were killed. Let me here observe, that upon the Trial great Stress 
was laid upon the Captain's giving the Order to fire, but there was 
no Proof of it; & the Doubt was not cleared up for many Months 
after; when the Soldier who gave the Word of Command, as men- 

19 "Case of Capt. Thomas Preston? Massachwets-Gazette Extraordinary (supple- 
ment to Boston Weekly News-Letter), June 21, 1770. 


tioned above, solved the Doubt. But It was immaterial in Law, 
whether the Capt. gave it or not, for the Attack was so evidential of 
a murderous Design, that he must have been justified if he had given 
such Orders. The People, indeed, would not have discharged him 
of Guilt, for they had no other Idea of washing the Blood from their 
Streets, but by pouring greater Quantities on. 

This Riot happened in the Evening of 5th. March. The Town of 
Boston was now all Uproar & Confusion. High & low repaired to 
the Council Chamber, & Colo. Dalrymple was sent for to them; 
whilest Colo. Carry who commanded the other Regiment, like a true 
Veteran, drew up his Men to receive the next Assailents. 20 

Lieut. Govr. Hutchinson was then in the Chair; Sr. Francis Ber- 
nard having returned to England some Time before. 21 The Lieut. 
Govr. was sent for to the Council Chamber, to quiet the Tumult. As 
he was passing the Street through the Crowd, a Bludgeon was aimed 
at his Head with a, a D m him! Pll do his Business" but a Person 
warded off the Blow, & saved him. He reached the Council Chamber. 
Samuel Adams was there to intimidate. He threatened Colol. Dal- 
rymple with a large Body of Men, if he did not withdraw the 
Troops; the Colo, consented, but said that he had no Command of the 
other Regiment. He was replied to, "if he could order the Removal 
of one, he could of both!' The Lt. Govrs. Advice was asked by the 
Colo., & finally gave it, to remove the Troops; and they were ac- 
cordingly sent to the Castle, three Miles from the Town. Thus ended 
this Nights Riot, & the next Day was their own. 

And now the Affidavit Men were set to Work; & a Narrative 
wrote & published, & said to be compiled by James Boivdoin Esqr., 
one of his Majesty's Council. 22 It was wrote for, & sent to ye. Party 
in England, to raise Disturbance there. It was crowded with the most 
notorious Falsities; which answered the Purposes of the Faction, 

20 The Boston Massacre took place in the evening of March 5, 1770. Ramsay, History 
of the American Revolution, I, 90-91, describes the mob scene in this way: "The sol- 
diers, when under arms, were pressed upon, insulted and pelted by a mob armed with 
clubs, sticks, and snowballs covering stones. They were also dared to fire. In this situa- 
tion, one of the soldiers who had received a blow, in resentment fired at the supposed 
aggressor. This was followed by a single discharge from six others. Three of the inhabi- 
tants were killed, and five were dangerously wounded. . . . The captain, and six of the 
men, were acquitted. Two were brought in guilty of man-slaughter. ... It was also 
proved, that only seven guns were fired by the eight prisoners'.' 

21 1769 (Oliver's note) . 

22 John Adams (Works, I, no-iii) said that the Narrative was the "testimony of 
heated individuals. . . . Much of the testimony in the 'Narrative' now looked extrava- 
gant, and some was positively perjured" 


untlll the Trials at Law unravelled their Mysteries and developed 
such Rancor & Perjury, as was disgracefull to human Nature. 

There was so much Malevolence against the Commissioners of the 
Customs & their under Officers, that Persons were tampered with to 
swear, that four of those Officers fired, or were accessory to the firing 
from the Custom House, upon the Inhabitants; particular [l]y a 
french Boy, Servant to one of the Officers, who swore that his Master 
ordered him to fire a Gun, & fired one himself. The Officers were 
indicted & committed, but upon their demanding Bail, the Judges 
of the supreme Court, upon Examination, found so little Cause of 
Commitment that they granted Bail; & when their Trial came on, it 
was rather farcical than serious: & the Jury instantaneously, without 
moving from their Seats, acquitted them; for it was proved, that the 
french Boy, the principal Evidence against them, was neither present 
himself, nor his Master. The Alibi thus proved, the french Boy was 
indicted for Perjury, tried, & convicted; & Part of the Punishment 
to be inflicted, was to be publicldy whipped; but the Faction would 
not suffer the Sheriff to inflict it: in such State were governmental 
Affairs after the Withdrawall of the Soldiers from the Town; & so 
unhappy were the Commissioners of the Customs, that they were 
all, except Mr. Temple, forced to repair to the Castle, under military 

The Clergy, both before & after the Trials of the Custom Officer 
& the Soldiers, were by no means guilty of doing their Work negli- 
gently. Before the Trials, the Pulpits rung their Chimes upon blood 
Guiltiness, in Order to incite the People, some of whom were to be 
Jurors, to Revenge, in cleansing the Land of the Blood which had 
been Shed; & doubtless, if they had been the Scavengers, they would 
have fertilized the Land with a Torrent from the Veins of those who 
were the Friends of Government; but happily their Arm was 
short'ned, & they could do little more than cry aloud, which they 
did not spare to do, in blowing up the Coals of Sedition. 

One of those zealous Divines, Dr. Chauncy, who was the Head 
Master of the School of the Prophets, had heard that a Gentleman 
was wounded, on that unhappy Night when the Soldiers had fired. 
He waited upon the Gentleman, & asked him, whether he did not 
design to prosecute Capt. Preston in damages? The Gentleman re- 
plied, "No Sir! It will be of no Advantage. Capt. Preston is to be 
tried for his Life. If he should be convicted he will suffer Death, & 
then I cannot recover any Damages; & if he is acquitted I shall be 
in the same Circumstances": to which this hoary headed Divine, in 

the true Spirit of the Inquisition, said "if I was to be one of the 

Jury upon his Trial, I would bring him in guilty; evidence or no 
Evidence" What a noble Instance this of Divinity, Zeal, Rancor & 
Revenge, jumbled together into one Mass! But he had imbibed more 
of the Temper of James & Peter, than of that of his & their Master. 
He was always for calling down Fire from Heaven to destroy his 
political Opposers. 


After the Trials were over, & the Clergy & Populace were dis- 
appointed in being gratified with the Procession of an Execution, 
the Pulpits rung their Peals of Malice against the Courts of Justice, 
for not indulging them in their Wishes for the Condemnation of 
innocent Men. Prayers & Sermons were Interlaced with Scandal 
against the Law & the Government. Ye. Clergy had forgot the Er- 
rand their divine Master had sent them upon, & had listed into the 
Service of new Masters; & to them, were most faithfull Servants: 
in this Service they have continued to this Day, with Fidelity irre- 

Government was now pretty thoroughly dissolved. The lower 
House of Assembly coincided with the Measures of the Faction out 
of Doors. His Majesty's Council, some from Timidity, & the most 
Part from Inclination, coincided with the House; & the Clergy had 
changed their usual Form of Prayer, & prayed for the ruling Powers; 
& the Governor was left alone to fill up the Gap against any further 
Inundation. 1 Indeed, the supreme Court of Justice shewed a decent 
Firmness in their Department, but it was at the Risque of their 
Lives. One of the Councellors Sons posted up a Bill on the Door of 
the House of Assembly, calling upon the People to Assasinate the 
Judges of the supreme Court. For Forms Sake, a Proclamation was 
issued by the Governor and Council, offering a Reward to discover 
the Author; but this was not a Time to punish any of the Faction; 
& it was buried in Silence. 


About this Time was invented the Art of Tarring & feathering; & 
the Invention was reserved for the Genius of New England* Milton 

1 Henry Hulton and William Burch to the duke of Graf ton, April 3, 1770, quoted by 
O. M. Dickerson, "The Commissioners of Customs and the 'Boston Massacre^ " New 
England Quarterly, XXVII (1954), 323: "After the troops were withdrawn the town 
was kept quiet but the power was entirely in the hands of the leaders of the people and 
every one's security depended on their caprice!' 

2 To the contrary, "tarring and feathering was an ancient . . . practice" (R. S. Long- 
ley, "Mob Activities in Revolutionary Massachusetts? New England Quarterly, VI 
[1933], 112). Revolutionary violence is described by an anonymous pamphleteer, be- 
lieved to be James Hawkes, in A Retrospect of the Boston Tea-Party with a Memoir of 
George R. T. Hewes, a Survivor . . . (New York, 1834) , pp. 33-35, 40-44. 

says, that Gunpowder & Cannon were first invented at a Pande- 
monium of his Devils; but this Art they had not the Sagacity of 
hinting at, untill it was discovered to them by these their modern 
Disciples. 3 The Town of Salem, about twenty Miles from Boston, 
hath the Honor of this Invention, as well as that of Witchcraft in 
the Year 1692, when many innocent Persons suffered Death by 
judicial Processes. 

The following is the Recipe for an effectual Operation. "First, 
strip a Person naked, then heat the Tar untill it is thin, & pour it upon 
the naked Flesh, or rub it over with a Tar Brush, quantum sufficit. 
After which, sprinkle decently upon the Tar, whilst it is yet warm, 
as many Feathers as will stick to it. Then hold a lighted Candle to 
the Feathers, & try to set it all on Fire; if it will burn so much the 
better. But as the Experiment is often made in cold Weather; it will 
not then succeed take also an Halter, & put it round the Person's 
Neck, & then cart him the Rounds!' This is the Method, according to 
the first Invention. And I knew an honest Man, of 60 Years of Age, 
who was thus disciplined in the cold Month of March, from nine 
o'clock at Night untill one o'clock the next Morning, untill Life was 
near expiring. And after a Prosecution for ye. Torture, a Boston Jury 
would not give 20 Damages. 4 

I know no other Origin of this modern Punishment, by the Rab- 
ble, of their State Criminals, than this; namely, that die first Book 
that New England Children are taught to read in, is called the New 
England Primer. In the Front of it is depicted the Pope, stuck 
around with Darts. The sight & memory of this creates and keeps 
up an Aversion to Popery; & it had this Effect, untill the honorable 
Congress wrote to the popish Canadians, that God & Nature had 
given them a Right to worship according to their Consciences. Then, 
indeed, they quitted their Aversions; & when the Congress went to 
Mass Worship, all Distinctions ceased. Before these, they uniformly 
practised the exhibiting a Pageant on every $th of November, repre- 
senting the Pope & the Devil upon a Stage; sometimes both of them 
tarred & feathered, but it was generally the Devils Luck to be 
singular, untill he bought the Rabble off, to confer that Honor upon 
their fellow Men. This is the only Clue I can find to lead me to the 
Origin of this Invention. In Order to keep in Memory the Soldiers 

^Paradise Lost, ed. Darbishire, I, Bk. VI, 136-137, 11. 469-536. 

4 Oliver's recipe for tarring is quoted, and other evidence of violence given, in Carl 
Ubbelohde, The Vice-Admiralty Courts and the American Revolution (Chapel Hill, 
N.C., 1 960), pp. 117-118. 

firing, on the Night of the fth March, they instituted an Anniversary 
Oration, upon what they called the Massacre-, at which Dr. Cooper 
& some others of the Faction, displayed their Oratory in Succession. 
This kept the Minds of the Rabble in constant Irritation; there being 
enough thrown out, at one Oration, to keep the Flame alive untill 
the next Orator blowed his Bellows to make it Rage with greater 
Fury; & thus was the Fire of Contention fed with constant Fuel, 
untill the town of Boston was evacuated of the Filth of Sedition 
in 1775. 

About this Time, the general Assembly of the Massachusetts was 
guilty of one of the Sins of Omission which, by the Way, are at 
some Times as inclusive of Criminality as Sins of Commission, & 
left out of their Code of Laws one which was of equal Importance 
to any of the others. It was this. It had been their Practice for a 
long Series of Years, to pass & renew a Riot Act. This Act was in- 
serted among their Temporary Laws, which, at certain Periods, they 
revised, & renewed according to particular Circumstances. This Act 
was founded on the British Riot Act, excepting in making the Crime 
to be Felony. It had hitherto been deemed a salutary Law; but 
now, the publick moral Sense was so vitiated, that they erased this 
Act from their System of Laws. This Omission was so strong an 
Evidence of verging towards Anarchy that every one who had the 
least Attachment to Government viewed the Omission in such a 
Point of View, as to calculate, without a second Sight, Events which 
in their natural Consequences must be destructive of all Govern- 
ment; & they were not disappointed in their Calculations. 


In the Year 2770, it was reported, that Lt. Govr. Hutchinson was 
to be the Commander in chief of Massachusetts Government. This 
provoked the Leaders of the Faction; they pretended to laugh [at] 
it as a mere Chimaera of his Friends. They depended so much on 
the Interest of their noble Friends in England, as to give out, that it 
never would happen; but in the Spring of 177 1 his Commission ar- 
rived, & the acheronta movebo was now exemplified, to increase 
Dissensions. 5 Happily, for some Time they were disappointed in 
bringing their Attempts into Execution, & were forced to gnash 

5 Flectere si nequeo super os, Acheronta movebo: "If I cannot influence the Gods of 
Heaven, I will stir up Acheron itself!' Vergil, Aeneid VII.3 1 ^ . 


their Teeth in sullen Silence; for Mr. Hutchinsons Character was so 
well established through the Province, from the many essential 
Services he had performed for them, that the Orders of Men, of 
every Denomination, addressed him with their Congratulations on 
his Promotion. 

The Clergy were much cooler in theirs, than any other Order; 
owing to the Influence of Dr. Chauncy & some others; but the Body 
of them had not so divested themselves of all Sense of Gratitude, as 
quite to forget past Obligations; but they were so influenced by 
some of their Boston Brethren, that their Address had a great Pro- 
portion of that foetid Smell of the Lamp, which generally evaporated 
from their Pulpit Discourses. Be it remembred, that this Govr. had 
been a distinguished Friend of the Clergy. 

It was in the Year 1770, that the arch Incendiary, Dr. Franklin 
procured the before mention' d Gentleman's File of Letters to be 
filch'd of Govr. Hutchinson's confidential ones; & Franklin, being 
then Agent of the lower House of Massachusetts Assembly, sent 
them to Boston. The Faction secreted them for some Time, to answer 
the following Purpose, vizt. There was a Dispute between New 
York & Massachusetts Governments, with Respect to their Bound- 
aries. The Province was sensible that no one was so capable of de- 
fending their Rights as Mr. Hutchinson. They therefore begged 
the Favor of him to act as one of the Commissioners; he readily un- 
dertook to serve them. Messrs. Hancock & Hauoley were two more 
of the Commissioners; the former of whom was quite ignorant of 
the Purposes of his Embassy; but he was not ignorant that those 
stolen Letters were in his Possession; & accordingly treated the Govr. 
with uncommon Complaisance, untill ye. Commission ended to the 
Advantage of the Massachusetts-, When, upon the Return of the 
Commission, the Letters were divulged, & a new Scene of Confusion 
opened, which ended in the aforementioned Exculpation of the 
Governor, before the King & Council. 

Adams, Haivley, & some others, of the legislative Faction, were 
unwearied in their Arts of Calumny, & Assasination of Characters 
which stood in ye. Way of their Views of Independence. They used 
every low & dirty Art, from Mouth & Press, to stigmatize those who 
would not coincide with their Measures; such Arts as an Oyster 
Wench disdains to lower her Reputation to. They knew that the 
Whole Rabble must have a Tub to play with, & they knew also, that 
the Nightmans Tub would answer the Purpose as well as any; & 
this they often employed. If a Man, in publick Office, was advanced 


in Life; he was an old wizzled Face Dog. If he had met with a Mis- 
fortune, by breaking a Leg, he was a limping Dog; & so on. 

Even Govr. Barnard could not escape their pitifull Insults: he 
happened to be fond of a delicate Fish, called Tom Cod, which the 
Harbor of Boston abounded with & which the common People 
often regaled upon. 6 He often ate of them, & Boys were employed 
to cry Tom Cod before his Door & as he passed the Streets, even the 
scribling Patriots would stuff their News Papers with Tom Cod 
Paragraphs to render him contemptible to the Publick. These were 
part of the Weapons of their Warfare. They were vociferated in 
the Streets, & echoed back from that Press which the Faction had 
consecrated to such Purposes, & which was rather too often hovered 
round by that worthy Divine Dr. Cooper, & others of the same 
Clothfrom the Labors of their Brain would often issue a Bonfire, 
a Mob, & a tarring & feathering. 

Disorders continued in this State for a long Time, & nothing else 
could be expected; for the military Protection had been removed. 
The upper & lower House consisted of Men generally devoted to 
the Interest of the Faction. The Foundations of Government were 
subverted; & every Loyalist was obliged to submit to be swept away 
by the Torrent. Protection was not afforded to them; this rendered 
their Situation most disagreeable. Some indeed dared to say that 
their Souls were their own; but no one could call his Body his own; 
for that was at the Mercy of the Mob, who like the Inquisition 
Coach, would call a Man out of his Bed, & he must step in whether 
he liked the Conveyance or not. 


In the %ar 1772, they continued their laudable Custom of Tar & 
Feathers; even the fair Sex threw off their Delicacy, and adopted 
this new Fashion. Had it been imported from France it might have 
been indulged to them; but as it was imported from a Region where 
Delicacy is not much encouraged, it was a great Pity that they did 
not consult their own Characters, before they adopted it. The 
Feather Part indeed suited the Softness of the Sex; but when the Idea 
of Feathers, united with Tar, started into the Imagination, it was 

6 Thomas Hutchinson was called a variety of names in the newspapers, like "pen- 
sioner" "Tom Long? and "monster!' There was also a general shift of terminology dur- 
ing this time. The "town house" became the "state house"; "provincial laws'* became 
"laws of the land" etc. Lawrence H. Gipson, The Coming of the Revolution, 
(New York, 1954), p. 203. 


rather disgustfull yet one of those Ladys of Fashion was so com- 
plaisant; as to throw her Pillows out of Window, as the Mob passed 
by with their Criminal, in Order to help forwards the Diversion. 
When a Woman throws aside her Modesty, Virtue drops a Tear. 

In the Winter of this Year, the ruling Powers seized upon a Cus- 
tom House Officer for Execution. 7 They stripped him, tarred, feath- 
ered, & haltered him, carried him to the Gallows, & whipped him 
with great Barbarity, in the Presence of thousands, & some of them 
Members of the general Court. Like the Negro Drivers in the West 
Indies, if you grumbled at so wholesome a Discipline, you had In- 
iquity added to Transgression, & Lash succeeded Lash; & there was 
but one Way of escaping, which was, to feign yourself dead if you 
was not already so; for in that Case you would be left to yourself 
to come to Life again as well as you could; they being afraid of such 
dead Men, lest they theirselves should die after them, sooner or 
later. One Custom House Officer they left so for dead; but some 
Persons of Humanity stepped into his Relief & saved him. 8 

The Lues Infernalis* which spread through great Part of the 
Massachusetts, & had werspread the Town of Boston was of the 
confluent Sort. It was so contagious, that the infection was caught 
by the neighboring Colonies. Rhode Island, some years before, in 
a most riotous Manner had rifled the Houses & hunted after the 
Lives of several Gentlemen, who were obnoxious by their Attach- 
ment to Government. In this Year, the Mob burnt his Majesty's 
Schooner Gaspee, on the Narraganset Shore, about 20 Miles from 
Newport. This made some Noise in England horn a Misrepresenta- 
tion of Facts, a Commission was sent over, impowering the Govr. of 
Rhode Island, the Chief Justices of Massachusetts, New York & New 
Jersies, & the Judge of the Vice Admiralty Court of Massachusetts, 
to inquire into the Facts. The People of that Colony were so closely 
connected; & so disaffected, from the Nature of their Government, 
to British Legislation, that it was perfectly futile to make an In- 
quiry; & the Matter ended, without any other Effect from the Com- 
mission, than an Encouragement to those Colonists to play the same 
Game again, upon the first Opportunity. 

7 John Malcolm (Oliver's note) . 

8 This incident occurred in January 1774. See the Boston Weekly News-Letter, Jan. 
27, 1774, and the Boston Gazette, Jan. 31, 1774. Malcolm was tarred and feathered ear- 
lier and was not totally innocent in his conduct on this occasion. Nonetheless, the bru- 
tality of his treatment follows Oliver's description closely. 

""Plague of Heir-hellish calamity. 


If those who had committed the Treason of burning the Gaspee 
had been discovered, they & the Witnesses of the Fact were to be 
sent to England, that the Trial of the Offence might be had there, 
according to ye. Act of Parliament 3 zd. of Henry the 8th. The Com- 
missioners Part was in the Nature of a Grand Jury, to inquire & find 
a Bill, & the Magistrates of the Colony were to send them over for 
Trial. Had it come to this Test, not a Magistrate would have been 
willing, much less would he have dared to execute a Process of that 
Nature; for this Government was so republican, that it was more 
abhorrent to their Constitution than to that of some other of the 
Colonies, that it would not have been submitted to, for there was no 
Protection to any Magistrate, in the legal Discharge of his Office, 
contrary to the Minds of the Populace. Indeed, the whole Continent 
was alarmed; & upon such an Attempt, they would have rushed into 
Rebellion 3 Years before they did. 10 Perhaps it would have been better 
they had done so; they might have been less prepared for it, & a de- 
cent Firmness might have more easily, & at less Cost, have subdued it, 
than it is probable a Subdual will be effectuated. 

By the Time Govr. Hutchinson had been tolerably well seated 
in his Chair, the Feathers came through his Cushion, & made him 
restless; for in this Year 7772, the aforementioned stolen Letters were 
published. The general Assembly entered into warm Altercations 
with him on their Charter Rights, & their Rights of Nature. He was 
an Overmatch for themthat vexed them. They wasted a great Deal 
of Time in their Replies he took no Time in his Answers; it was all 
Amusement. They were pushed so hard, that they dared not to con- 
fide in their own consolidated Understanding, but sent an Express, 
400 Miles, to a noted Lawyer of Virginia, to draw an Answer to 
one of the Govrs. Speeches. That Lawyer would not undertake it, 
& they were forced to return such an one as the two Adams's, 
Hawley, & the Junto could patch up; but it was mere Diversion to 
the Governor to Close upon them; & I have known him to write his 
Answers & converse in Company, at the same Time nothing was 
more provoking to the Massachusets Faction than to suffer under 
the good Sense of a Governor: a weak one they could overcome by 
artfull Disputation; but a Man of solid Sense they chose to treat 
with ye. argwnentum baculinum; & here they knew no Superior. 11 

The last Year, the General Court, by Orders from England., had 

10 See letter by "X" in which the writer also complains that law and order had broken 
down, Boston Weekly News-Letter, Dec. 24, 1772. 
1:l "Club law" the argument of the stick. 


been removed from Boston to Cambridge, abt. 3 Miles distant. The 
Order was founded In great Wisdom; for the Members of the gen- 
eral Assembly were so dinnered & supper'd by the Faction in Boston, 
that they were made willing to comply with any Measures destruc- 
tive of Government; and at Cambridge they were in some Degree 
out of the Danger of being led into Temptation; although, even there, 
they were scouted by Emissaries who had some Influence over them. 
Had the Geography of the Country & the Temper of the People been 
well understood in England, no less than 40 Miles Distance from 
Boston would have been thought sufficient for ye. Session of an 
Assembly of Malecontents. They were continually buzzing about 
the Governor, Like a swarm of Gad Bees, complaining of the un- 
constitutional Measure of removing them from the Metropolis, 
whereas it was a well known Fact; & agreeable to the Charter, that 
such Removal had been frequently made in Times past. The true 
Cause of Complaint was: that the Faction had not so good Oppor- 
tunities of influencing the Members of the Assembly, & the Country 
Members had not so good a Chance of transacting their trading 
Business, & of saving Expence, by being treated & caressed, at Cam- 
bridge, as at Boston. 

It was the Unhappiness of the Governor, that his own Mind was 
of so candid a Cast, that he was loth to think that every other Man's 
was not formed in the same Mold: hence, he wrote home for Lib- 
erty to return the Assembly to Boston. He had Leave, & adjourned 
them from Cambridge-, but he soon found himself mistaken, & that 
the Swell of the political Sea rowled in with greater Rapidity. Their 
Demands increased, & their Insults on the british Legislature in- 
creased with them; they openly disclaimed any Authority, but their 
own Government. They complained that they had no Representa- 
tion in the british Parliament, therefore could not be taxed by them, 
& in the same Breath declared, that they could not be represented 
there, & disavowed their Inclination to it. 


Thus Things went on untill 7773, when the Design of the Parlia- 
ment was announced, of sending over the East India Company's 
Tea. 12 The Decks were now cleared for an Engagement, & all Hands 
were ready. Some of the Merchants crowded over as many Goods as 

12 Oliver was personally involved in this Tea Party. Both his son-in-law and brother- 
in-law were consignees of the tea. Richard Clarke, the brother-in-law, and his son, Jon- 
athan Clarke, were threatened and abused and their property destroyed. For many 
months in 1 774 the Clarkes took refuge at Castle William. 

they could, against a Time of Market; & many of them with a Design 
never to make Remittance. The English Ministry imagined, that it 
would prevent the smuggling of Tea from the Dutch, to send a 
sufficient Supply, that the Price might be so lowered as to discourage 
the illicit Trade; & the Condition of Sales was to be at publick 
Auction, to the highest Bidder. If the Scheme had succeeded, the 
Consumption, in the Massachusetts only, would have been a saving 
to that Province of 2000 Sterlg. p. Year. This Scheme was founded 
upon a lenient Principle of the british Government, in Order to 
avoid any Force in restraining so pernicious a Trade. 

The Objection made to it, by the Colonists was, yt. the Duty was 
to be paid in the Colonies, instead of being paid in England-, but the 
Futility of such a Plea must be evident to a very low Understanding, 
at first Blush; for the Consignees of the East India Company were 
to pay the Duties theirselves, on the Arrival of the Teas; whereas had 
the Duties been paid in England & the Teas been lost in their Passage, 
the Duties would have been lost also to that Company. It is true, 
that, in such Case, the Company only would have made the Saving; 
but it would have brought no Injury to the Colonies, neither any 
Advantage. The Case of the Colonies with great Britain, at this 
Time, was similar to that Reverend & zealous Divine, Dr. Chauncy, 
his Expression relative to Govr. Hutchinson; upon its being said to 
him by a Friend, "that he did not doubt that the Govr. would be the 
Savior of his Country' 5 the Doctor replied, that "he had rather the 
Country should perish than be saved by him; 77 these were his Words, 
or very similar to them. Thus, the Colonies have acted; & they now 
find that their Perdition draweth nigh, whether they sink or swim, 
their Case being something analogous to our English Solomon's 
Mode of trying Witches. If the poor old Wretch who was thrown 
into the Horse Pond happened to sink under the Water, she was 
only drowned; but if her Emptiness should cause her to float on 
the surface, she was haltered & hanged. 

Notwithstanding the british Parliament's good & kind Intention to 
the Colonies in the above Scheme: yet they never considered that 
the smuggling Business was so universal, & that the Smugglers Inter- 
est had engrossed so great a Power; for it was absolutely necessary, 
if they meaned to land the Tea, to have sent ten Soldiers, to every 
Chest of it, in Order to have guarded it; whereas the Mob had drove 
off the military three Years before to guard against Probabilities, & 
even against Possibilities, is a good Maxim in aU Parts of Life. 

The Teas at last arrived, in the latter End of Autumn, & now 

Committee Men & Mob Men were buzzing about in Swarms, like 
Bees, with every one their Sting. They applied first to the Con- 
signees, to compel them to ship the Teas back again. The Mob col- 
lected with their great Men in Front. They attacked the Stores & 
dwelling Houses of the Consignees, but they found them too firm 
to flinch from their Duty; the Mob insisted that the Teas should be 
sent to England. The Consignees would not take such a Risque upon 
theirselves, for had the Teas been lost, they must have been the Losers. 
At last, the Rage of the Mob, urged on by the Smugglers & the 
Heads of the Faction, was increased to such an Heighth, that the 
Consignees were obliged to fly for Protection to the Castle; as the 
King's Ship in the Harbor, which was ordered to give them Pro- 
tection, refused it to them. There was no Authority to defend any 
Man from Injury. 

The Faction did what was right in their own Eyes; they accord- 
ingly planned their Manoeuvre, & procured some of the Inhabitants 
of the neighboring Towns to assist them; this they did, in Order to 
diffuse the Odium of the Action among their Neighbors. The Mob 
had, partly, Indian Dresses procured for them, & that the Action 
they were about to perpetrate might be sanctified In a peculiar Man- 
ner, Adams, Hancock & the Leaders of the Faction, assembled the 
Rabble in the largest Dissenting Meeting House in the Town, where 
they had frequently assembled to pronounce their Annual Orations 
upon their Massacre, & to perpetrate their most atrocious Acts of 
Treason & Rebellion thus, literally, "turning the House of God 
into a Den of Thieves!' 13 

Thus assembled, on December i4th. they whiled away the Time 
in Speech-making, hissing & clapping, cursing & swearing untill it 
grew near to Darkness; & then the signal was given, to act their 
Deeds of Darkness. They crowded down to the Wharves where 
the Tea Ships lay, & began to unlade. They then burst the Chests of 
Tea, when many Persons filled their Bags & their Pockets with it; 
& made a Tea Pot of the Harbor of Boston with the Remainder; & it 
required a large Tea Pot for several hundred Chests of Tea to be 
poured into, at one Time. Had they have been prudent enough to 
have poured it into fresh Water instead of Salt Water, they & their 

13 Leaders of the patriots met in Benjamin Edes' home in the afternoon of Dec. 16 
and remained there until dusk when they went dressed like Indians to the wharves. 
Others attended a meeting at Old South Church and then went to the offices of the 
Boston Gazette, where they dressed for their activities at the wharves. Peter Edes to 
Benjamin C. Edes, Feb. 16, 1836, Proceedings of the Mass. Hist. Soc., XII (1873), 174- 

Wives, & their Children; & their little ones, might have regaled upon 
it, at free Cost, for a twelve Month; but now the Fish had the whole 
Regale to theirselves. Whether it suited the Constitution of a Fish 
is not said; but it is said, that some of the Inhabitants of Boston 
would not eat of Fish caught in their Harbor, because they had drank 
of the East India Tea. 14 

After the Affair was over, the town of Boston, finding that it was 
generally condemned, said it was done by a Crew of Mohawk In- 
dians; but it was the Rule of Faction to make their Agents first look 
like the Devil, in Order to make them Act like the Devil. This vil- 
lainous Act soon grew into serious Consideration. Some of the 
Country Towns, as well as some of the Inhabitants of Boston, 
thought, that Justice demanded Indemnification to the owners of 
the Tea; but the Faction was great; & it prevailed; it had so repeated 
Success, in Impunity, from their other Disorders, that the Power of 
Great Britain did not weigh a Feather in their Consideration: but it 
at last shut up their Port; & deprived them of some other Priviledges, 
as the Sequel will relate. 

In the other Colonies, to which the Tea was sent, they behaved 
with more Prudence; the Tea was secured for the East India Com- 
pany; but it must be considered, that in those Colonies there was a 
little sprinkling of the Power of Government, with its Form] where- 
as in this, both Form & Power were annihilated, or, which is worse, 
the formal Part was drawn into the Vortex of Faction; & as the other 
Colonies were generally at Enmity with this, they chose to have her 
brought into Disgrace, that they might plume themselves in a Superi- 
ority over her. However, this was not of long Continuance; for the 
Massachusetts had too much of the Cunning of the Serpent, to leave 
any Insinuation unapplied to bring the rest of her Sisters into the 
same Condemnation with herself, & involving them in the Guilt of 
the same Rebellion, & the already fatal Consequences of it. 15 

After the Destruction of the Tea, the Massachusetts Faction found 
they had past the Rubicon-, it was now, Neck or Nothing. They 

14 The colonists "viewed the tea as the vehicle of an unconstitutional tax, and as in- 
separably associated with it. To avoid the one, they resolved to destroy the other. 
About seventeen persons, dressed as Indians, repaired to the tea ships, broke open 342 
chests of tea, and without doing any other damage, discharged their contents into the 
water!' Ramsay, History of the American Revolution, I, 100. 

15 While Oliver's language seems hard, he was justified in stressing the violence of the 
~ :hlesinger, Prelude to Independence: Th 

Massachusetts opposition. Schlesinger, Prelude to Independence: The Newspaper War 
on Britain 1764-1776 (New York, 1958), p. 182, notes that the violence at Boston re- 
ceived a "stunned silence" in other important colonial centers. 


therefore went upon Committees of Correspondence & drew up 
what they called a Solemn League & Covenant, whereto every one 
was to subscribe, not to import from England, nor to deal with any 
that did, & to renounce all Connection with those who sold English 
Goods. This was a truely infernal Scheme; it was setting the nearest 
Relations & most intimate Friends at irreconcilable Variance; & it 
had that most accursed Effect, of raising a most unnatural Enmity 
between Parents & Children & Husbands & Wives. This Scheme was 
formed & executed by Saml. Adams & his Myrmidons who were an 
Overmatch for a whole Conclave of Arch Daemons, at any Thing 
that was subversive of the Foundations of moral Virtue, or that 
tended to the Destruction of the Creation of the supreme Being. 
Hand Bills were sent, from the Select Men & Committees of Boston, 
to all the Country Towns, to come into this Scheme, & there was such 
a Connection of Trade between those Towns & Boston, that few 
dared to refuse the Invitation. 

The dissenting Hierarchy lent their Aid to sanctifie the Treason, 
& I knew a Clergyman, of some Note, in a Country Town, who went 
to the Meeting House where ye. Inhabitants usually assembled upon 
their civil Affairs, & took his Seat at the Communion Table; & in the 
Plenitude of priestly Power, declared to the Assembly then con- 
vened on the solemn League & Covenant that whoever would not 
subscribe to it was not fit to approach that Table to commemorate 
the Death & Sufferings of the Savior of Mankind. This was truly 
making a League with the Devil, and a Covenant with Hell. The 
Faction were so imbittered against all the Friends of Government, & 
they had so wheedled the Clergy into their Measures, that those pious 
Men were as saucy to the supreme Being, in their publick Prayers, 
that a Bystander would imagine that he was only their Executioner. 

They arrogated to theirselves the Power of the Keys, & could let 
in & shut out whom they pleased: but they were more fond of the 
Key of the bottomless Pit, & dealt their Curses pretty illiberally; for 
one of that sacred Order used this Expression in his publick Prayers, 
vizt. "O Lord! Bind up all the Tories on this and the other Side of 
the Water, into one Bundle, & cast them into the bottomless Pit, & 
let the Smoke of their Torment ascend forever & ever!' This was ex- 
pressive of great Illnature. He would have been less inexcusable, if he 
had imitated the Candor of his Brother Clergyman of Scotland, who, 
praying against the Pretender, only desired "the Lord to take him 
up, & shake him over the bottomless Pit; but not to let him fall in." 
Such a Petition could have discovered less of Inhumanity, if it had 

[104 ] 

had no Tincture of Christianity in it: but what is not Zeal without 
Knowledge capable of saying and doing, in any Thing improper to 
be said or done? As to their Pulpits, many of them were converted 
into Gutters of Sedition, the Torrent bore down all before them, 
like [after] a City Shower, Dead Cats & Turnip Tops come tumbling 
with the Flood. The Clergy had quite unlearned the Gospel, & sub- 
stituted Politicks in its Stead; they had broken the two Tables of 
Stone, as well as the Comment upon that moral Law comprized in 
the excellent Sermon upon the Mount. One of those Preachers, with 
the Reputation of Learning, preaching upon the sixth Command- 
ment to his large Parish, declared to them, that it 'was no Sin to kill the 
Tories. Such a laudable Pattern was surely worth Imitation; and it 
was followed in one Sense or other very punctually, among all the 
parochial Officers, down to the Sexton, for he sometimes would ring 
the Bell to raise the Mob. 

I knew a Deacon who had as much Sense & Virtue as Deacons gen- 
erally have. I had known him for 30 Years of an irreproachable moral 
Character; but being seduced by the Madness of the Times, had 
entered into the Spirit of them. This Man entered into a Conversa- 
tion with one of his Neighbors, upon the prevailing Extravagances; 
his Neighbor told him that the depriving People of their Properties, 
by Riots, was unjustifiable. He replied, "that it was all right, it being 
in a good Cause!' His neighbor said, "it could not be right, for it was 
against the Word of God"; to which this holy Man answered, "that 
they had laid aside the Bible for the present!' To enumerate any more 
Instances might be tedious; & would be holding a Mirror to the De- 
formity of human Nature; which is disgustfull to view, too minute- 
ly. Such Actions are too picturesque of the Character of those 

Who serve God as if the Devil was in them. 

Thus tarring & feathering, solemn Leagues & Covenants, & Riots, 
reigned uncontroled. The Liberty of the Press was restrained by the 
very Men who, for "Years past, had been halloowing for Liberty her- 
self; those Printers, who were inclined to support Government, were 
threatened, & greatly discouraged. So that the People were deprived 
of the Means of Information; & the Faction had engrossed the Press, 
which now groaned with all the Falsities that seditious Brains could 
invent, which were crammed down the Credulity of the Vulgar. 

One most atrocious Falsity, in particular, was published in the Phil- 
adelphia Paper, said to be, & generally believed to be, fabricated by 
that great Patriot Dr. Franklin, & was republished in some other of 


the Colonies News Papers. Boston made particular Advantages of it, 
& spread it through the Massachusets. The Purport of the Paragraph 
was this, vizt: "that the Parliament of Great Britain had in Contem- 
plation a Bill, for its next Session, imposing a Tax upon the Colonists 
of 50 for every Marriage; of 20 for every Birth; with License to 
murder the illegitimate Children!' At almost any other Time, the 
credat Judaeus apelltf 6 would have been a propos, & it would have 
been a subject of ridicule only; but, now, the Frenzy was worked up 
so high, that the most incredible Tales were the most readily assented 
to; & if the Faction had told their deluded Followers, that an Army 
of 30,000 Men were crossing the Atlantick in Egg Shells, with a De- 
sign to roast the Inhabitants alive & eat them afterwards, the People 
would have first stared, & swallowed down the Tale, whole. 

It was astonishing with what Avidity it was listened to; & even 
some of the Clergy, who are the Oracles of their Parishes, hugged 
the Delusion; & the People would have rather suffered their Brains 
to be beat out of their Heads, than to have their Faith in this Absurd- 
ity beat out of their Brains. To attempt to undeceive them was talk- 
ing to a Whirlwind; & a Man ran the risque of having his own Brains 
knocked out, who undertook the Task; & very few, that had any 
would dare to do it. Mad Tom of Bedlam thought all the World were 
rnad but himself. 

About this Time some of the Clergy, at 2 or 300 Miles Distance, 
undertook their Pilgrimages to the new Jerusalem, Boston, to con- 
sult Measures for the Conduct of the sacerdotal Order; & some of 
the Boston Clergy took their Airings into the Country Towns, to 
creep into Houses & lead silly Men & Women captive; & they can- 
not be denyed the everlasting Honor of being as industrious in the 
Cause of Sedition as the first Martyrs were in the Cause of Christian- 
ity; but, perhaps, they would not have been equally faithfull to 
Death, in any cause. Mr. Otis was prophetically right, at his first 
Outset, with Respect to his black Regiment; neither their Cloaths, 
their Shoes, or their Throats are as yet worn out. The Faction de- 
ceived them; they have helped to deceive the People; & when the 
Time may come that the People like Ld. Whartoris Puppies, may 
open their eyes before drowning, the Curses of the deluded Sufferers 
will alight upon their Heads, to their irrecoverable Contempt, with- 
out Benefit of the Clergy. Never was a Circumstance more seriously 
laughable, than what happened at the Conclusion of the Trial of 

16 "Let the Jew Apelk believe that! (not I)? 

Capt. Preston's Soldiers in Boston; one of them, who was brought in 
guilty of Manslaughter, standing at the Bar, was asked by the chief 
Justice, what Objection he had to offer why sentence of Death 
should not be passed upon him? The simple Fellow did not know 
what to say. A Bystander whispered to him, to pray the Benefit of 
the Clergy* 7 The Man not understanding the whole of the Direc- 
tion, bawled out with an audible Voice, "may it please your Honors! 
I pray the Death of the Clergy" & many present nodded their 


An Affair which happened, at the Close of the Year 1773, but was 
not brought into Effect untill this Year 1774, mortified, chagrined, 
enraged & drove into right down Madness, Adams & all his Factious 
Hydra. It was a Grant from his Majesty, of a Salary to the Judges of 
the supreme Court. 18 Such a Grant was in Contemplation some %ars 
before, when Mr. Charles Townshend, was prime Minister; but his 
Death delayed it untill this Time. The true Reason of the Grant was 
this: the Judges of that Court had the shortest Allowance, from the 
generall Assembly, of any publick Officer; even their Door Keeper 
had a larger Stipend. The Judges Travel on their Circuits was gen- 
erally about noo Miles in a Year, & some Times it had been 1500 
Miles. Their Circuit Business engrossed seven Months in the Year, 
& the Extremes of Heat & Cold in that Climate were submitted to. 
For all this Service, the highest Grant made to them was 120 Ster- 
ling p. Year, & it had been much less. The Chief Justice had 30. 
Sterling more. This Grant was annually made, tho' sometimes post- 
poned, & it depended upon the Humors of the prevailing Partys. A 
late worthy chief Justice, who had a confirmed Character for Sense 
& Integrity, lived almost in Penury, & at last died insolvent; & one 
Year, there was an attempt, in the Assembly, to deprive him of his 
extra 30 because he had given an Opinion in Law, upon the Bench, 
contrary to the Mind of a Partizan in the lower House of Assembly: 
but the Affair was dropped, lest it should fix a Stigma upon the 
House, of gross Partiality. The Assembly endeavored to keep the 
Judges in absolute Dependance upon their Humor; & because they 
found them rather too firm to coincide with their Views in the Sub- 
version of Government, they made them the Objects of their Re- 

17 A plea of Benefit of Clergy, in English criminal law, brought an exemption from 
the full penalties of the law. 

18 Oliver was the principal judge involved in this controversy. 

sentment; & in Order to express It, they made two new Counties, of 
100 Miles more Travel, & shortned their Allowance 37.10. Ster- 
ling in the Whole: in short, they seemed disinclined to do Justice 
theirselves, or to suffer others to do it. 

Several of the Judges had repeatedly represented their Cases to 
the generail Assembly, praying a further Allowance: & in Case it 
should be denied to them, because they might be disagreeable to the 
Assembly, or to the Body of the People, they were ready to resign 
their Offices, to make Room for others who were in greater Esteem; 
but they were honored with no other Answer, but having their 
Memorials ordered to be laid on their Table. 

His Majesty taking the Case of the Judges into his royal Consid- 
eration, from his known Justice & Benevolence, ordered them Sal- 
aries to be paid out of his Revenues in America-, such Salaries as 
would keep them above Want & below Envy. This was striking at 
the Root of that Slavery which the Judges had always been held 
under; & to give up such an arbitrary, cruel & unjust Empire, did not 
comport with the Pride of the present ruling Powers; who now used 
every Art of suasion & cajoling by their Emissaries, & of Threatnings 
from theirselves, in Order to rivet the Chains which they had only 
locked before. In Order to effectuate their Purpose, they made a 
Grant to four of the Judges equal to his Majestys Grant; but they 
made it for one Year only. They knew that if this was accepted of, 
his Majesty's Grant would be forfeited of Course, & that the next 
Year they could return to their wonted Expedient, of attempting to 
bring them into a Compliance with their own Measures. To the chief 
Justice the Assembly granted an extra Sum, though very dispropor- 
tionate to the Distinction his Majesty had made between him & the 
puisne Judges; but had their Grant to him been more than adequate 
to the King's Grant; he had too intimate a Knowledge of their past 
Conduct, to put any Confidence in the Justice, Honor or Generosity 
of a Massachusetts Assembly. 

The Faction, who were the prevailing part of ye. Assembly, were 
anxious to know the Minds of the Judges, & appointed a Committee 
to ask their Determination; but as the Judges had no official Infor- 
mation of his Majestys Grant, they declined giving any Answer. 
This was towards the Close of the Year 1773, when the Term of the 
supreme Court was just finishing in Boston, where the general Court 
was then assembled. The Assembly were highly incensed at not re- 
ceiving a categorical Answer from the Judges; they were just upon 
determining upon a Commitment of the whole Bench to Prison; but 


some of their out-of-Door Friends who had not breathed the pesti- 
lential Atmosphere of the Assembly Room, disswaded the ivithin- 
door Leaders of the Faction from such an illegal Step; since, if it was 
taken, they could have no Remedy in Law in their litigious Suits, 
which were too common in this Province. Thus the Matter subsided 
for the present; the supreme Court finished the Term, & the Judges 
returned to their respective Homes; & had the Assembly finished 
their Sessions, & returned to their long Homes, it is probable that Re- 
bellion herself would have returned to her long Home with them. 

The Judges upon hearing, sometime before, of his Majesty's gra- 
cious Intention of such a Grant, had agreed to accept of it; but when 
the Dog Star raged with such a scorching Heat, four of them, who 
lived at and near that Focus of tarring & feathering, the town of 
Boston, flinched in the Day of Battle; they were so pelted with sooth- 
ings one Day, & with Curses & Threatnings the Next, that they 
prudentially gave the Point up. One of the Judges, upon his Return 
home, sickened & died. The brutal Faction of the Assembly sent 
their Messenger to him, with Orders to deliver the Demand of an 
Answer to him personally, & receive his Answer; the Judge was 
within a few Hours of his Exit, when the Messenger arrived; he 
urged Admission to his dying Bed; it was granted, & he entered, & 
layed his Orders, in writing, upon the dying Man's Breast, who just 
declared his Non Acceptance of the Kings Grant, & soon after 

The Chief Justice was now left alone in the Combat: his case was 
peculiar; his Brethren had but lately been seated on the Bench. He 
had been 17 Years in the Service, & had sunk more than 2,000 Ster- 
ling in it. 19 He had conversed with many of the Members upon the 
Singularity of his Case, & had offered not to accept of the Grant (if 
his Majesty would permit him so to do) provided the Assembly 
would reimburse him one half of his Loss in their Service; & further, 
that he would resign his Seat on the Bench. Upon this Representation 
of his Case, they advised him to take the King's Grant. This they did 
out of Doors; but there was so great Virtue in the Boards & plaister- 
ing of the Assembly Room, that upon setting their Feet over its 
Threshold, they at once changed Opinions. 

The chief Justice, very luckily lived above 30 Miles from Boston, 
or perhaps he would have followed the Suit of his Bretheren, in giv- 
ing up the King's Grant; conformable to that only Truth which the 

19 Oliver told the General Court that he had spent 3,000 more than his salary dur- 
ing his tenure as Superior Court judge. Boston Gazette, March 7, 1774. 

Devil ever uttered, Skin for Skin & all that a man hath will he give 
for his Life: but he considered, that Mobs, when they set out on their 
Expeditions, generally get a Spur in their Heads; & as he lived at 30 
Miles Distance from their Head Quarters, in all Probability they 
would want a Spur in their Heels before they could reach him. He 
was not disappointed in his Conjecture, for he remained quiet in his 
Recess, untill the Assembly met again, 2 or 3 Months after; & then 
the whole Pack opened. A Message was sent to him, by the lower 
House, signed, Samuel Adams, Clerk, requiring him to make explicit 
Answer, whether he would accept of the Kings Grant, or of their 
Grant. He replied, that he should accept the Kings Grant nothing 
less than Destruction now awaited him. 20 The Term of the supreme 
Court was now approaching the Thunder Cloud gathered, black 
enough to crock Charcoalinstead of red, the Lightning flashed its 
white Streaks. There was a Gallery at a Corner of the Assembly 
Room where Otis, Adams, Haivley, & the rest of the Cabal used to 
crowd their Mohawks & Hawcubites, to echo the oppositional Vocif- 
erations, to the Rabble without doors. Adams now addressed his 
Gallery Men, to attack the Chief Justice when he came to Court; & 
they perfectly understood his Meaning. Even one of the Assembly 
Men, a Colo. Gardiner, who was afterward killed at the Battle of 
Bunker's Hill, declared in the general Assembly, that he himself 
would drag the chief Justice from the Bench if he should sit upon it. 
The Chief Justice's Friends wrote to him, that if he should go to 
Court his Life would be in Danger, but he not being conscious of 
such Danger; attempted to go, but a most severe Snow Storm hap- 
pening the Night before his intended Journey, his Attempt ye. next 
Day, after a Mile or two of Struggle through Snow Drifts, was 
prevented by the Impassableness of the Roads. 

The next Day, one of Mr. Adams's right hand Men arrived, with 
a Message from the general Assembly, signed again by Mr. Adams 
as Clerk, prohibiting the chief Justice his coming to Court he 
obeyed. The Messenger was a Person who had been obliged, by him 
to whom he delivered the Message, & apologised for his being the 
Bearer of it. On conversing with him, he wept at the Situation of 
this Affair; & frankly acknowledged, that if the chief Justice had 
gone to Court, he believed that he might have walked the Streets in 
the Day, but that he would not be safe in the Night. It being Dinner 
Time, the Messenger was asked to dine & refresh himself, after his 

20 Oliver's reply and other papers are printed in the Boston Weekly News-Letter, 
March 3, 1774. 

Fatigue; but he refused; & assigned for a Reason, that If they knew 
in Boston, ( & they would ask him) that he ate in that House, it 
would give great Offence. 21 Thus these Christian Liberty Men re- 
sembled the inhabitants of Judcea, in that malicious Principle of not 
eating with a Samaritan, as well as in a Worse, that of thinking they 
did God good Service in persecuting & destroying all those who 
dared to be of different Opinions from them. Like to what Ben John- 
son [sic] said of King James the first, their Souls seemed to have 
been born in an Ally. 

The Assembly, finding that the chief Justice did not go to Boston, 
to have his Brains beat out by their Rabble, they attacked him in a 
new Quarter, where he happened to be Invulnerable. They ordered 
the Records of the supreme Court to be laid before them, hoping to 
find some Malfeazance in his Office; but they were disappointed; & 
every Disappointment put them upon scratching their Heads for 
new Matter. At last, finding that they were pushed to Extremity, 
they sprung a Mine which involved theirselves in the intended Ruin 
of him. They drew up an Impeachment of him, as Inimical to his 
Country in taking the Kings Grant, but at the same Time they did 
him the Honor of joining his Majesty with him in the Impeachment, 
as offering a Bribe to him, which he received. This was such an In- 
sult to Majesty, that the Governor could not let it pass unnoticed, & 
accordingly closed the Matter against them. Thus ended all their 
legislative Attempts to ruin the chief Justice. The private Attempts 
of Assasination they reserved for future Opportunities; & several 
Plans were formed for his Destruction, which, by as many unac- 
countable Circumstances, he escaped from the Execution of. It was 
a little odd, that they should pursue him with such unremitting Ven- 
geance when it is considered, that they had but just finished their 
Laugh at his bretheren, for being such Cowards as to quit their Hold 
of the King's Grants to them. 


In the Month of March 1774, the Chief Justice his Brother, who 
was Lieut. Govr. of the Province, died. 22 He had been Secretary of 

21 John Adams noted this danger to Oliver's life in his diary ( Works, II, 328) : "Some 
of these judges were men of resolution, and the Chief Justice, in particular, piqued him- 
self so much upon it and had so often gloried in it on the bench, that I shuddered at the 
expectation that the mob might put on him a coat of tar and feathers, if not put him to 

22 Oliver's brother, Andrew, was the lieutenant governor. The harsh treatment ac- 
corded him was accurately described by Oliver. The funeral ceremonies were permit- 

the Province many Years, to universal Acceptance; but he had been 
unhappily appointed, without any Application of his, to be one of 
the Stamp Officers, although he had wrote to his Correspondents in 
England against the Principles of the Act; before its being passed. 
He had been harrassed upon this Affair in the Year 1765, his House 
plundered, & himself Drove to their Tree of Liberty, & forced to a 
Resignation. He had also wrote, to a Friend in England, his private 
Sentiments on the Constitutions of the Colonies. Those Letters were 
also stole at the same Time when Govr. Hutchinsons Letters were 
pilfered. The Vengeance of the Faction was carried to, & beyond the 
Grave. Upon his Interrment a large Mob attended, & huzzaed at the 
intombing the Body; & at Night there was an Exhibition, at a pub- 
lick Window, of a Coffin & several Insignia of Infamy & at this 
Exhibition some Members of the general Assembly attended. Could 
Internals do -worse? 

The chief Justice [felt] his risque of his Life was too great, for 
him to pay his final Visit to the Death Bed of an only Brother; & his 
Friends advised him not [to] pay his fraternal Respect to his Broth- 
er's Obsequies. The Advice was just; for it afterwards appeared, that 
had he so done, it was not probable that he ever would have returned 
to his own home. Never did Cannibals thirst stronger for human 
Blood than the Adherents to this Faction. Humanity seemed to be 
abhorrent to their Nature; & the whole Tenor of their Conduct to 
this Time will justifye the Observation. 

I have been the longer on this Subject, as, perhaps, no one Trans- 
action irritated the Faction more; it set them upon scratching where 
it did not itch, untill they felt sore all over. It was a Subject upon 
which the Dignity of the Laws much depended; but this Dignity 
they had been trampling under their Feet for many Years past. Otis 
had said, in the Year 1760, that there should be no Peace in his Israel, 
if his Father had not a Seat upon the Bench; & when he gave up his 
political Ghost, he bequeathed the Malignity of his Heart to Saml. 
Adams & his Faction Mongers, who received it with Avidity & have 
lived upon the Stock ever since. 

ted, but the mourners were insulted by the mob, and Peter Oliver did not dare make a 
personal appearance. Letters and Diary of John Rowe, ed. Anne Rowe Cunningham 
(Boston, 1903), II, 265. 


The Parliament, of this Year 1774, having taken into their Consid- 
eration the disordered State of the Massachusetts that they refused 
to reimburse the East India Company for the destruction of their 
Tea; & that the Council of the Province was composed of Men who 
were inimical to british Legislation; for these, & otherwise Reasons, 
which were like to have a Tendency to establish Government, had 
they been as well pursued passed several Acts: for diminishing the 
Charter-, for shutting up the Port of Boston; & for regulating Trials 
at Common Law. Had the whole Charter been vacated, such an Abo- 
lition might have been justified, on the soundest Principles of Law 
& Equity; for they had forfeited it before now, & as justly as they 
had forfeited it, when it was vacated in James zd. Reign. Upon this 
Alteration of the Charter, his Majesty had the Sole Appointment of 
his own Council, instead of leaving it to the Power of ye. People to 
chuse Men of their own Stamp to insult Parliaments, & abuse the 
regal Authority, impuniter-, & in this Alteration it was put into the 
Governor's Power to appoint Judges, Justices, Sheriffs &c. in a 
course as conformable as possible to the british Constitution. This 
was founded on the soundest Principles of Government. The Port 
of Boston was shut up, on Account of the refusing to pay for the 
Tea which was destroyed; & it was to be opened when the Tea was 
paid for. Salem was the Port of Trade fixed upon, in Exchange. This 
employed many Carts in transporting Goods; & as the Act was called 
Lord Norths Act, it was diverting, to a Traveller, to hear the quaint 
Curses, which the simple Drivers of the Carriages would throw out 
at that great & good Statesman. If a Wheel run into a Rut, it always 
descended with a, this is Lord North's Road; if it Jolted hard over 
a Stone, the Rumble was accompanied with a Damn Lord North! 1 
Even the pious Clergy propagated the Sound; & when they left their 
cart driving, & ascended the Desk, they had something to say in their 
Prayers about Lord North, either explicitly or by Implication: & 
one of them thinking it was best to be fair & above board with his 
Maker, uttered the following Expression, O! Thou Lord of the East, 

iFrederick North, 2nd earl of Guilford (1732-92), was prime minister of Great Brit- 
ain from 1770 until 1782. "Lord North was 'cursed from morn to noon, and from noon 
to morn by every denomination of people! " Claude H. Van Tyne, The Causes of the 
War of Independence . . . (Boston, 1922) , p. 443. 

& of the West., & of ye. South! Defend us against Lord North! Had 
Lord North been vulnerable by the Curses & the Prayers of those 
Carters & Parsons, he would not at this Day have stood at the Helm 
of Government, but both Pilot & Ship would have foundered long 

As to the regulating Trials at Common Law, the Inconveniences 
of the late Practice of chusing Jurors hath been already mentioned, 
& publick Justice demanded a new Method; & that Method was ap- 
pointed, which conformed to the Practice in England, which seems 
to be as impartial as the Policy of the Law could devise. But there 
was one part of the Act, which the Necessity of the Times, only 
could justifye, vizt. that in the Trial of certain capital Offences, if it 
appeared probable that the supposed Offender could not have a fair 
Trial in the Province where the supposed Offence was committed, 
a Trial might be had in a neighboring Province, or the Prisoner might 
be sent to England for Trial. It was probable that such an Offender 
would not stand a fairer Chance for his Life in one Government than 
in another; because it must be supposed that the same Influence 
would extend through the Whole; therefore, it would have been an 
heavy Charge, as well as great Inconvenience to Witnesses, to have 
crossed the Adantick upon such Occasionsbut the Trial of the 
Soldiers, already mentioned, as well as other Trials, would justifye 
any peculiar Hardships, upon such Refractoriness as had been ex- 
hibited by this Government. 

Lieut. General Gage was appointed Governor of the Massachu- 
setts^ in the Room of Govr. Hutchinson, who sailed for England? 
Soon after Mr. Gage's Arrival, on May i3th 1774, Mr. Gage acted 
both in the civil & military Department. 3 He was accompanied by 
4 Regiments of Foot; & it was generally expected & hoped, that he 
had Orders to send to England several Persons, who had been de- 
clared by his Majesty's Law Servants to have been guilty of high 
Treason. Many of the guilty Persons dreaded what ought to have 
been their Fate; & many innocent Persons declared, that if they 
wanted Hangmen in England they would willingly undertake the 
Office: but unhappily for the Publick the People were disappointed 
& the Traitors felt theirselves out of Danger; by which means, many 

2 June i, 1774 (Oliver's note) . 

3 Oliver is accurate on the date of Gage's arrival. Gage arrived on May 13, 1774, and 
Hutchinson sailed for London on June i, 1774. John R. Alden, General Gage in Amer- 
ica . . . (Baton Rouge, La., 1948) , pp. 203-204, 

edged off to the Faction & they felt Security from an Increase of 
Adherents. This was the critical Moment to have given Stability to 
Government, & to have saved the enormous Sums which have been 
expended, & the Profusion of Blood which hath been shed in the Col- 
onies. Timidity, in Suppression of Rebellion, will ever retard the 
Subdual of it. 

Genl. Gage had both civil & military Government to conduct. The 
Task was arduous at this Juncture, & no Person could be more anx- 
ious than he was to support the former, tho' it was out of his Walk 
of Life. He was a Gentleman of an amiable Character, & of an open 
honest Mind; too honest to deal wth. Men, who, from their Cradles, 
had been educated in all the wily Arts of Chicane, & who never en- 
joyed greater Triumph than when they gain'd an Advantage by 
little low Arts of Cunning. Genl. Gage as a Soldier, preferred the 
engaging an Enemy in the European Mode, of an open Field. As 
Governor, he must engage an Enemy in the Mode of Bush fighting, 
which they had been bred in, but which he disdained. He called an 
Assembly to meet at Salem, & there he summoned those whom his 
Majesty had appointed for his Council, according to the new Act of 
Parliament; but when those Councellors met to be sworn into Office, 
several declined the Oath, as imagining that their Persons & Prop- 
erties would be in imminent Danger, upon their taking it; but not- 
withstanding their Refusal, the People persecuted some of them, 
because they had been in Nomination, & were known to be well 
affected to Government. Their Refusal was of little Service to them, 
for some others, who had taken the Oaths, were afterwards forced 
by the Mobs to resign, were in no worse Preedicament than their 
Selves. A great Number did undertake the Office, & hold it; but they 
were forced to repair to Boston for Safety, under the Protection of 
the Troops. 

Mr. Gage had no great Trouble with his civil Government; for the 
lower House of Assembly locked their Selves into their Apartment, 
to pass some seditious Resolves; which, when he understood, he sent 
the Secretary to dissolve them. The Secretary could not gain Ad- 
mission, & was obliged to discharge his Duty at their Door, instead 
of within their Room; but they had passed their Resolves before 
the Dissolution. Here ended the civil Government, both Form & 

The People now went upon modelling a new Form of Govern- 
ment, by Committees & Associations. The County of Suffolk met & 

passed a Number of high Seasoned Resolves, In the Month of Sep- 
tember, sufficiently peppered to carry them through the approaching 
Winter. The wild Fire ran through all the Colonies; they all inter- 
ested their Selves in the Boston Port Bill; & in a pretended Compas- 
sion to the Sufferers of that Town shipped Cargoes of Provision; 
but it was thought, that those who had the Distribution of them fared 
full as sumptously upon them as many of those did, for whom they 
were designed. The Lava from this Volcano at last settled into a Con- 
gress of 52 Men, from the different Provinces, who met in September 
1774, & pass'd several notable Resolutions about Importation, non 
Importation & Exportation; all which, with their other after Re- 
solves, have been so often printed, that the Pastry Cooks may furnish 
their selves with any Stock they may want, at every Book Stall in 
London, for their patriotick Pies; by which Means the Patriots may 
have the Advantage of eating their own Words again, without hav- 
ing them crammed down their Throats by Force of Law. 

The People began now to arm with Powder & Ball, and to disci- 
pline their Militia. Genl. Gage, on his Part, finding that Affairs wore 
a serious Aspect, made Preparations for Defence. He began to forti- 
fie the Town; he sent for Troops from Quebec & Neiv York, & col- 
lected a respectable Force. The other Provinces dismantled the 
Bang's Garrisons; there being no Force to oppose them. The Rebel 
General Sullivan carried off some Cannon from the Fort at New 
Ham[p] shire together with some Shot wch. he designed to use with 
them; but he was so little acquainted with military Affairs, that he 
picked out Shot that were big enough for Cannon of double Bore 
to what he took away; he was so well versed in Iricism, that he 
could at any Time fire an eighteen Pound Cannon out of nine Pound 
Shot. The People were continually purchasing Muskets, Powder & 
Ball in the Town of Boston, & carrying them into the Country; under 
the Pretence that the Law of the Province obliged every Town & 
Person to be provided with each of those Articles. They urged an- 
other also, that there was Danger of a French War, which put them 
upon their Guard. 

A Person who was more than stark Blind might have seen through 
such pitifull Evasions, Genl. Gage therefore took wise Precautions; 
he put a Stop to the carrying off any more; & as all warlike Stores, 
except private Property, are vested in the King, the Govr. therefore 
seized upon some of the Magazines, & secured the Powder under the 
Protection of his Troops. This provoked the People, & some of the 
Smuglers sent to the Dutch at Eustatia, & got a Recruit of Powder. 

They also secured Cannon from Vessells, & some of the Kings Forts, 
& acted with great Vigor in all their Preparations; & thus passed the 
Remainder of the Year 1774, in Offence on one Side, & in Defence 
on the other. 

There had lived in the Town of Boston, many Years, a William 
Molineaux, from Wolverhampton in ye. County of Stafford in Eng- 
land. He had been an hard Ware Merchant; but by minding the Riot- 
ing Business more than his own, he had reduced his Circumstances to 
a low Ebb, & maintained his Family upon the Effects of a Mr. Ap- 
thorp, a Merchant at New York, for whom he was Agent. 4 This Man 
was a most infamous Disturber of the Peace, & urged on the Mobs 
to commit their mad & desperate Schemes. 5 It was generally thought, 
that he had encouraged the french Boy to perjury, in the Trial of the 
Custom House Officers, already mentioned. 6 He had engaged the 
Mob to destroy the King's Troops, soon after General Gage came; 
but they being afraid to execute his Scheme, he grew mad with ye. 
Disappointment, & Mr. Apthorp at that Time, arriving in Boston to 
call him to an Account, he at once grew desperate; & instead of 
bringing on his designed Massacre of others, he retired to his House 
& finished his Life by Suicide. Thus was finished, a Man who had 
been a Pest to Society, for several Years before his Death. 

The Term of the Supreme Court was, at the latter Part of this 
Summer, held at Boston. The Mob had threatned, in the highest 
Terms, to prevent its Session. Genl. Gage was but too apprehensive 
of the intended Mischief; & being always anxious to support the civil 
Power, he very politely offered his Troops to guard the Judges to 
the Bench. They determined to try the Force of the civil Power, & 
reserved the military to the last Extremity. The Mob assembled 
themselves, & the Judges assembled the civil Force. The former find- 
ing that the latter were determined, made an Opening Passage, & the 
Court was held without Opposition. Indeed, it was to little Purpose 
to hold the Court, except to make some Appearance of civil Author- 
Charles Ward Apthorp was the son of a great Boston merchant, Charles Apthorp. 
Wendell D. Garrett, Apthorp House 1760-1960 (Cambridge, Mass., 1960), pp. 6-7. 

5 John Rowe, the diarist and merchant, had also a poor opinion of William Molineux. 
An entry for Oct. 24, 1774, reads: "This afternoon Willm Mollineux was buriedhe 
has been famous among the Sons of Liberty. Many Things are attributed to him & tis be- 
lieved he was the first Leader of Dirty Matters!' Letters and Diary of John Rowe, II, 286. 

6 The commissioners of customs were miles away from King's Street on the evening 
of March 5, and the star witness for the patriots was a perjurer who was encouraged by 
William Molineux and others. Miller, Sam Adams, p. 188. 

ity; for the Suffolk Resolves had forbid Jurors, & all others, to obey 
any Orders, but what they should issue themselves; 7 & the others 
Courts in the Province had been dissolved by Mobs; & some of them 
in a most brutal Manner, as may be seen in the Appendix, if You are 
not already too disgusted to throw your Eye upon it. Thus the inter 
Arma silent Leges was most strictly verified. 8 


In the Spring of 1775, the War began to redden. Genl. Gage hav- 
ing Intelligence, that a Quantity of Warlike Stores were collected at 
Concord, about 20 Miles from Boston, judged it most prudent to 
seize them. Accordingly, just about Midnight of the i8th. of April, 
he privately dispatched about 800 Men for that Purpose: they exe- 
cuted Part of their Orders, but to no important Effect. This Party 
was attacked by a Number, who had previously Notice of their 
March. Much Stress hath been laid upon, who fired the first Gun. 
This was immaterial, for as the civil Government had been resolved 
by the Suffolk Resolves, the military Power had a right to suppress 
all hostile Appearances, But in the present Case, the commanding 
Officer ordered the armed Rabble to disperse, upon which some of 
the armed Rabble returned an Answer from their loaded Muskets. 
The King's Troops then returned the firethe Alarm spread, & 10 
or 12000 Men, some say more, flanked them & kept in the rear, at 
turns. The Battle continued for the whole Day. After this first 
Corps had fought, on their Return, for many Miles, they had ex- 
pended most of their Ammunition, & must have submitted as Pris- 
oners, had not Ld. Percy met them with a fresh Brigade, with two 
Pieces of Artillery. 9 This fortunate Circumstance saved them from 
a total Ruin. When united, they still fought, but the Cannon checked 
the Progress of the Rebels; who kept at a greater Distance, & chiefly 
fired from Houses, & from behind Hedges, Trees, and Stone Walls. 
As the King's Troops approached their Head Quarters, ye. Battle 
thickened upon them; for every Town, which they passed through, 
increased the numbers of their Enemys; so that they had not less 
than 10 or 12000 to combat with in the Course of the Day. 

7 The Suffolk Resolves of Sept. 9, 1774, declared (in Resolution 5) that all officials of 
the courts who held their tenure under any authority other than the Massachusetts 
charter were acting unconstitutionally. 

8 " Amidst the clash of arms the laws are mute!' 

9 Hugh, Earl Percy, the son of the first duke of Northumberland, was in charge of 
the British forces marching to Lexington and Concord. 

At last they arrived at a Hill, on the same Range with that of 
Bunker's Hill: here Lord Percy took Post, in so defensible a Place, 
that there was no danger of being annoyed by the Enemy; but un- 
happily this Post was quitted in a few Days; for the principal Men 
of Charlestown, in which this Hill was situated, interceeded with 
Genl. Gage not to fix any Troops there, lest it should injure the 
Town; & they gave their Words & Honor, and some of them were 
men of Honor, & Friends to Government, that if there should be 
any Attempts to throw up Works to annoy the town of Boston, they 
would give timely Intelligence of them. But neither Genl. Gage or 
they calculated the Probability of the Rebels guarding the River 
in such a Manner as to prevent any Intelligence across it to the Town 
of Bostonand this Mistake was the Occasion of the Battle of 
Bunkers Hill, two months after. This was a Battle of Chevy Chase, 
& many have had, & others will have Reason to rue the hunting of 
that Day. This was called the Battle of Lexington, because it was 
at that Town, abt. 1 5 Miles from Boston, where it first began. 

Many were the Exploits of that Day, variegated wth. Courage, 
Generosity, & Barbarity. Lord Percy was distinguished by Conduct 
& Gallantry; & the other Officers & Soldiers by great Bravery. Some 
of each Rank travelled 50 Miles that Day, wthout. a Morsel of Food. 

Many were the Instances of the british Soldiers great Humanity, 
in protecting the aged, the Women & the Children from Injury; not- 
withstanding the great Provocation they had to a general Slaughter. 
One among the many was this, vizt. A Soldier seeing an old Man, 
with a Musket, who had been in the Battle, much wounded & leaning 
against a Wall; he went up to him, tore off the Lining of his own 
Coat & bound up his Wounds, with it, desiring him to go out of 
Harm's Way. The Soldier had scarcely turned from him, when the 
old Man fired at his deliverer: human Passion could not bear such 
Ingratitude, & the Man lost his Life by it. Another Instance was this: 
from one particular House the Troops were much annoyed; a Capt. 
Evelyn rush'd in; but finding no Body below, he ran up Stairs, & 

10 "The Hunting of the Cheviot? in The English and Scottish Popular Ballads, ed. 
Francis James Child (Boston, 1886-98), III, 311 (Verse 2) : 

To drive the deere with hound and home 

Erie Pearcy took the way: 
The child may rue that is unborne 
the hunting of that day! 

Apparently Oliver is referring to a local story told of Lord Percy's march. A Roxbury 
schoolboy laughed at the tune of the fif ers and observed: "To think how you will dance 
by and by to Chivy Chase? 


a Woman in Bed begged her Life: he told her she was safe, & asked 
where her Husband was? She said that he was just gone out of the 
Room; upon which Capt. Evelyn returning to the Door, the Man, 
who was under the Bed, fired at him: Capt. Evelyn then put the Man 
to death. 

There was a remarkable Heroine, who stood at an House Door 
firing at the Kings Troops; there being Men within who loaded 
Guns for her to fire. She was desired to withdraw, but she answered, 
only by Insults from her own Mouth, & by Balls from the Mouths 
of her Muskets. This brought on her own Death, & the Deaths of 
those who were within Doors. 

Many Lives were lost this Day; the King lost about 90 Men, & 
the Rebels at least as many. Many were wounded on each side. Two 
of the British Troops, at fewest, were scalped, & one of them before 
he was dead. Let Patriots roar as loud as they please, about the 
Barbarity of an Indian scalping Knife; but let them know, that an 
Indian Savage strikes the deadly Blow before he takes off the Scalp. 
It was reserved for a New England Savage, only, to take it off while 
his Brother was alive. 

Messrs. Hancock & Saml. Adams happened to be at Lexington, on 
the Night before the Battle. They heared, the Kings Troops were 
coming out; & their Guilt whispering in their Ears, that the Design 
was to take them into Custody, they fled. Their Flight confirmed 
that observation made by Solomon, viz. the wicked fleeth when no 
Man pursueth^ There was also a Colo. Lee of Marblehead, a weak 
but violent Partizan of Rebellion, who was there; & he imagining 
the same Design of seizing him, fled also, ran into Distraction & 
died miserably; this Man had great Influence, as he was supposed 
to be a Man of a large Estate. Several Men of Estates, from Ambition 
& a mistaken private Interest, as well as from Resentment, engaged 
in this Rebellion; but upon settling their Books found the Ballances 
against them. Others who were firmly Attached to Government 
fared no better; for what with Sequestrations & enormous Taxes & 
an illegal Prevention of recieving the Debts due to them, they were 
mowed down to a Level with the others. Never did the World ex- 
hibit a greater Raree Show, of Beggars riding on Horse back & in 
Coaches, & Princes walking on Foot. One Instance is Striking, of a 
Sand Man who carried Sand to the Doors of the Inhabitants in 
Boston, & is now riding in a Coach. This material World is turned 

1:l Proverbs xxviii.i* 

topsey turvey every Day; & doubtless, It is necessary that the System 
of the political World should under & overgo too, a similar Rotation- 
Variety alone doth Joy, 
The sweetest Meats do soonest cloy. 12 

After the Battle of Lexington, there was a general Uproar through 
the Neighbouring Colonies; the Echo of which soon extended 
throughout the Continent. Adams, with his Rabble Rout, & his 
Clergy sounding the Trumpet of Rebellion to inspire them, had 
blown the Bellows so long, that the Iron was quite hot enough to 
be hammered. The News of the Battle flew with Rapidity; one 
Post met another to tell the dolefull Tale, of the Kings Troops burn- 
ing Houses & putting to Death the Inhabitants of Towns. Industry 
never labored harder, than the Faction did, in propagating the most 
atrocious Falshoods, to inspirit the People to the grossest Acts of 
Violence; & they had a great Advantage in doing it, by engrossing 
the tale almost to theirselves, & by suppressing the true State of 
Facts. At last, indeed, Genl. Gage, by great Assiduity, found Means 
to undeceive those who had preserved any Coolness of Temper. As 
for the qui vult decipi decipiatur, he there could make no Impres- 
sionthus the Rupture could not be closed. 


Amidst this general Confusion, the famous Mr. "Putnam, now a 
Brigadier General in the Rebel Service, went to Boston, & offered 
his Service to Genl. Gage, & proposed for himself a Birth in the 
royal Artillery; but Mr. Gage having no Vacancy above 3 /6 p. Day, 
he did not incline to accept, saying at the same Time, that io/p. Day 
was the utmost of his Ambition. It hath been wished by many, that 
Genl. Gage had secured him to the royal Interest. It possibly might 
have turned out well, had he have done so, but I imagine It hath 
turned out better, by not engaging him; for Mr. Putnam hath not 
only been the least obnoxious Man in their Service, but he hath 
really exercised great Humanity to Prisoners taken by the Rebels; 
& had there been no worse Men to conduct their Opposition than 

"Matthew Prior, "The Turtle and the Sparrow? The Literary Works of Matthew 
Prior, ed. H. Bunker Wright and Monroe K. Spears (Oxford, 1959), 1, 536, 11. 232-233: 
Variety alone gives joy, 
The sweetest Meats the soonest cloy. 

13 "Who wishes to be deceived will be deceived!' 

he Is, I have no Doubt that the Rebellion would have ceased long 
since. 14 

As Mr. Putnam hath been a Subject for News Paper Paragraphs, 
& as his Picture hath been exposed in the Windows of Print Shops, 
both of Town & Country, although very unlike him, it may not be 
amiss to give you some Traits of a Semblance. I am pretty sure, that 
they will be less disgustfull than some others I feel myself obliged 
to give you very soon. Know then, that he was a Person who com- 
manded a ranging Party when General Amherst reduced Canada to 
British Subjection. In that Service he distinguished his self with 
Fidelity, Intrepidity & Success. After the Campaign was over, he 
returned to his small Farm in Connecticut, & to his old Business, 
as a Retailer of Cider & Spirits, in which he gained something to the 
Support of his Family. 15 He was well esteemed by those who knew 
him, according to the provincial Phrase, as an honest, good Sort of 
Manhis Parts are not brilliant, but he is hardy, bold, & daring in 
Execution. His Courage is of that Sort which hath sometimes been 
deemed, fool hardiness. An Anecdote or two, which have been cur- 
rently believed in New England, may be explanatory of the latter. 
It is said, that some Years ago he had a few Sheep upon his Farm, 
which a Wolf had destroyed; he was determined to avenge his loss 
by the Death of ye. Robber, He accordingly took a Companion, & 
repaired to his Den, then tied a Rope around his Waist, & with his 
Gun crawled on his Hands & Knees into the Den; when he soon 

14 The following passage was crossed out in the manuscript, and this explanation was 
given: "This Article is a Mistake: it was not Mr. Putnam, but Genl. Green who con- 
veyed the Lady to her Father." The passage reads: "I will give one Instance, from the 
best Authority, of the humane & generous Feelings of his Mind; vizt. a Lady, who was 
known to Mr. Putnam) but whose Husband, as well as herself, had been long obnoxious 
to the Faction, embarqued for London, about the Time the King's Troops evacuated 
Boston. The Pacquet, in which she embark'd, was detained in the Harbor, untill the 
Rebels had taken full Possession of the Town of Boston-, but she being in such a Situa- 
tion, as discouraged her from the Voyage, returned to a Friend's House, where she was 
secreted in a Chamber. It so happened, that Mr. Putnam dined at this House, where he 
observed, that Plates of Food were sent from the Table to an Invalid above Stairs; he 
desired to know who was above, & after some hesitancy he was told. He then desired to 
see the Lady, who was alarmed at such a Visitant & when he was admitted, he desired 
her not to be uneasy; & very humanely, as well as politely, asked her, whether he could 
be of any Service to her? She replied, she only wished to go to her Father at Rhode 
Island, about 70 miles off. Mr. Putnam immediately procured a Coach for her, con- 
veyed her there in Safety, & relieved her of her Anxiety. Let this Instance of Charity 
cover a Multitude of his Errors'.' 

15 Israel Putnam (1718-90) served in many campaigns during the Seven Years' War, 
with bravery and distinction. After the death of his first wife he settled at Pomfret, 
Conn., where he married again and became active in local and colony politics. 

percieved the Wolf with his Eyes glaring, at the further End of it; 
he fired his Gun & killed him; & seizing him by the Ears, gave the 
Signal to his Comrade, who pulled them both out. This rash Action 
was bruited about, & his Minister under took to expostulate with him 
upon it; but he closed the Dispute by saying, "that if the Devil him- 
self had stolen as many of his Sheep as the Wolf had, he would have 
gone into his Dominions & pulled Mm out by the Ears!' Another 
Story they tell of him, is; that he was taken by the Indians in the 
last War & having destroyed many of their Tribe, they were deter- 
mined to destroy him; & accordingly bound him to a Tree, & re- 
treated to a Distance, to fling their Hatchets into him; when he, just 
as the fatal Stroke was to be given, laughed in their full View. The 
Indians, being always pleased with a brave Action, immediately re- 
leased him. These Instances are Char acteris[ tic ]k of some Sort of 
bravery, which though it may not be justified upon the Principles 
of true Courage, yet often meets with Success: & as far as it coincides 
with true Courage, it will confirm that part of Mr. Putnams Charac- 
ter which I at first mentioned, agreeable to that Maxim, vlzt. "a Man 
of true Courage is always a Man of Humanity": & I make not the 
least Doubt, that when a List of the Barbarities which have been 
committed by Washington & his Savages may be published, Putnam'' s 
Name will be in vain searched for as one of the Perpetrators. 16 


I now return to the disagreeable Situation, after the Battle of 
Lexington. The old Bickerings continued, & new ones increased. 
Genl. Gage was obliged to fortifie the Town, to secure his Troops 
& those who had resorted to them for Protection. The People, on 
their Parts, complained of his so doing; pretending that the Inhabi- 
tants could not be supplied with Provisions from the Country. This 
they knew to be false, but used it as a Pretence to keep the Town 
exposed to the inroads of the Numbers they designed to bring in, to 
take Possession: & had not the General taken those Precautions, it 
is probable that the Loyalists, who had fled to the Town, would 
many of them have been massacred; & others of them have fared 
but little better. The Faction, who were out of the Town [were] 
constantly urging the Inhabitants to quit the Town, & threatning to 

16 Similar tales of Putnam's heroic deeds are retold in George Canning Hill, Gen. 
Israel Putnam (Boston, 1858), pp. 16-27 (wolf tale), 39-48. See also [David Hum- 
phreys], Memoirs of the Life ...of Israel Putnam (Ithaca, N.Y., 1834) . 

destroy it. Many went out, & It was with great Hardships & Diffi- 
culties that they could find where to lay their Heads; insomuch, that 
of 10 or 1 2,000, who left it after that Battle, 1 200 died by November 
following. The Operation of that Battle occasioned so great an 
Evacuation, that the Town was reduced to a perfect Skeleton. 

In May Generals Howe, Clinton, & Burgoyne, arrived from 
England-, but, little else was done but fortifying, untill the Battle of 
Bunker's Hill, on the iyth. June, cut out Work enough for the 
Troops, not only for that Day but for nine Months after. That 
memorable Day exhibited a Scene, which crowned british Valor with 
Laurels of unfading Honor; but it was much to be lamented, that the 
Laurels were not to be obtained without the Sacrifice of a greater 
Disproportion of heroick Officers than perhaps ever fell in one 
Battle; owing to that savage Way of fighting, not in open Field, but 
by aiming at their Objects from Houses & behind Walls & Hedges. 
The Battle came on thus. It hath been already said, that the principal 
Inhabitants of Charlestown had told Genl. Gage, that he should have 
Intelligence of any Designs against him from that Town; but they 
were either disinclined, or not able to give the Information; so that, 
on the Night of the i6th. June, about 3 or 4000 Men were busied 
in throwing up a Redoubt, to contain 500 fighting Men; in fixing 
down 1 3 Rail Fences in the Front of it; & in making an impenetrable 
Hedge, which ran from the Redoubt to the Water's Edge, several 
hundred Feet. The other Part of the Redoubt was flanked by Dwell- 
ing Houses, from whence they fired with great Security; by which 
Means they could take Aim at the Officers of the british Troops, 
whom they made the particular Objects to be fired at. Thus pre- 
pared, & never was a more advantageous Defence prepared, they 
began early in the Morning of ijth. June to fire upon the Town of 
Boston, from their Redoubt of 3 peices of Artillery, of 3 Pounds 
Shot; & they might have fired untill this Time, without doing little 
other Damage than by keeping the Town in constant Alarm, & keep- 
ing up their own Spirits. 

Charlestonvn is a Peninsula made by an artificial Ishtmus [sic] 
about 2 Rods wide. On one Side a Gondalo with Cannon could 
pass almost to the Neck of Land, at high Water, & on the other Side, 
a Vessell of considerable Force could approach very near, to meet 
the opposite Gondalo. Charles River is the Boundary between Bos- 
ton & Charlestoivn. At the Ferry it is not l / 2 a Mile in Width at 
the North Part of Boston is an Hill, called Copp's Hill, which was 
well fortified with heavy Cannon. This Hill is opposite to Bunker's 

Hill, about % of a mile Distant. From this Hill the Redoubt of the 
Rebels was battered; & it did some Execution, by damaging the 
Redoubt, & by killing about 40 Men in it; & this Battery plaid untill 
the Kings Troops were in Action, about 2 or 3 o'clock in the After- 
noon. The Fatalities of War, attending this Days Action were singu- 
lar in their Quality, but not so in their Number; as may be observed 
in the following Relation, & the Day was remarkably hot, as well 
as the Action. 

Genl. Gage found it necessary to dislodge the Rebels; a further 
Indulgence to them would have been irremediable. He accordingly 
proposed to the Admiral, to send an armed Vessell on that side of the 
Enemy's Encampment, where they could have been effectually an- 
noyed. The aforesaid Hedge which concealed great Numbers, who 
afterwards galled the King's Troops, would have been so flanked, 
that not a Rebel could have stood his Ground. Besides which, there 
could have been no Retreat for them, as such a Vessell would have 
lain near to the Isthmus & prevented it. This Manoeuvre would have 
made Prisoners of near 4000 Rebels, & perhaps put an End to the 
Rebellion. But it seems, that, at this Time, & during a great Part of 
this american Contest, the King's Ships were looked upon in too 
sacred a Light to be destroyed by any Thing, except by Storms, 
Rocks & Worms. In this Case, a Vessell of 200 Value, would have 
been as effectual as one of 20,000. This I term the Fatality of 
Fatalities of this memorable Day. 17 

It was high Water about one o'clock after noon. About 1700 of 
the Kings Troops then embarked, & landed without any Opposition. 
They formed, & marched towards the Redoubt on their March. 
They were fired upon, through the aforementioned Hedge by two 
pieces of Cannon peeping through it: upon which Genl. Howe, 
who commanded, called for his 6 Pound Artillery; but when they 
began to load them, they had only 1 2 Pound Shot for 6 Pound Can- 
non. Here was a second Fatality. Genl. Howe then, with true british 
Courage, said that "they must do as well as they could with their 
Muskets" & marched on. When the Soldiery came to the Fences, 
they attempted to break them down; but they were so well fixed, 
that the Ardor of the Troops could not wait to level them, but 
climbed them. This Sort of Attack was fatal to them; for they were 
now Objects of Aim, from the Houses as well as the Redoubt. 

17 Charles Stedman, The History of the . . . American War (London, 1794), I? "5- 
1 29, agrees that a better use of naval power would have changed the character of the 

At this Time, the Encampment, upon Copp's Hill, seeing * the 
Troops so much distressed from the Houses, flung a Shell, which 
fell upon a very large Meeting House built with Wood, which in- 
stantaneously kindled; & the wind blowing in the Course of the 
Buildings, the whole Town became one general Conflagration. 18 
The british Troops by repeated Efforts had made a Passage through 
the Fences, & were marching to the Redoubt; but in great Disorder. 
Mr. Howe, observing it, ordered a Retreat, he was obeyed. He soon 
formed them, & they marched on again in good Order; & immedi- 
ately, upon one or two having mounted the Parapet, the Rebels 
fled from the Redoubt. Major General Warren, who commanded 
in the Redoubt, exerted himself to prevent their rushing out at the 
Passage, but all in vain. He was the last Man who quitted it; & while 
his Men were running off, he very slowly walked away; & at about 
20 or 30 "Yards distant from the Redoubt he dropped; a Bullet having 
entered the back Part of his Head,- & gone through it so far as to 
occasion a Prominence on his Forehead. 19 

Thus the Battle ended. And why there was no Pursuit is an Arca- 
num that must reside in those Breasts where many other Mysteries 
have been locked; but, of which, a Key hath been found to open 
many of them to publick View. The Gondalo, which came at no 
great Distance from the Isthmus, did some Damage, & served in 
terror em to those who were going to assist at the Redoubt. Had it 
gone nigher, as it might have done, there would have been great 
Slaughter of the Rebels a Remarkable Circumstance attended the 
firing from the Gondalo. A Colo. Me. Clary was leading on a 
strong Party of Succours, across the Isthmus. Some of his Men 
flinched, through fear of the Canonade from this armed Boat; the 
Colo, seeing it, cryed out, "Come on brave Boys! that Shot is not 
yet cast that is to kill me!' The Words were scarcely spoke, before a 
Cannon Ball cut him almost to Peices. 

Colo. Putnam was at the Redoubt, when the british Troops were 
marching up to it. He knew their Bravery, & the Rawness of the 
Rebel Army. He said to the commanding Officer of the rebel Army; 

18 The burning of Charlestown apparently was started by shells from Copp's Hill. 
Willard M. Wallace, Appeal to Arms: A Military History of the American Revolution 
(New York, 1951 ), p. 41. 

19 Joseph Warren (1741-75) "mingled in the fight, behaved with great bravery, and 
was among the last to leave the redoubt. He was lingering, even to rashness, in his re- 
treat. He had proceeded but a few rods, when a ball struck him in the forehead, and he 
fell to the ground!' Richard Frothingham, Jr., History of the Siege of Boston . . . (Bos- 
ton, 1849), pp. 170-171. 

"I know the British Troops, I have acted with them; We must re- 
treat, for they will defeat us;" upon which he was sent off to Cam- 
bridge, about 3 Miles Distance, for more Men; but the Battle was 
over before his return. 

The Kings Troops had about 1000 killed & wounded, & of the 
latter many died of their Wounds, through the excessive Heat of 
the Season. The Rebels did not lose one half that Number: about 
thirty of them, who were wounded; were lodged in Prison, at Bos- 
ton, & were as well tended as the Kings wounded Troops. Among 
the rest was a Colo. Parker, who died with his Wounds not long after 
the Battle. This unhappy Man lamented the Ambition that led him 
into this Mistake, & sent Word, to some of his active Friends, to quit 
the Cause, as he now too late found himself in the wrong. 


This Day was distinguished by as many Acts of Heroism as so 
short a Time could be well be crowded with. One of which was 
relative to the above Colo. Parker*, who being wounded, sat upon 
a Stone in great Anguish begging for a little Water. 20 A Soldier 
seeing him was going to run him through with his Bayonet, to ease 
him of his Pain. A Grenadier, at that instant, interposed & prevented 
the fatal Stab, saying to the Soldier, "Go fetch him some Water; let 
him live to know that a British Soldier is humane as well as brave!' 
After the Battle, the Kings wounded Troops were carried to Boston; 
& it was truly a Shocking Sight and Sound, to see the Carts loaded 
with those unfortunate Men, & to hear the piercing Groans of the 
dying & of those whose painfull Wounds extorted the Sigh from the 
firmest Mind. As I was a Witness to one Instance, in particular, of 
Stoicism, I will relate it. I was walking in one of the Streets of Bos- 
ton, & saw a Man advancing towards me, his white Waistcoat, 
Breeches & Stockings being very much dyed of a Scarlet Hue. I 
thus spake to him; "My friend, are you wounded?" He replied, 
"Yes Sir! I have 3 Bullets through me!' He then told me the Places 
where; one of them being a mortal Wound; he then with a philo- 
sophick Calmness began to relate the History of the Battle; & in all 
Probability would have talked 'till he died, had I not begged him to 
walk off to the Hospital; which he did, in as sedate a Manner as if he 

20 John Parker (1729-75), born at Lexington, Mass., was a farmer and mechanic be- 
fore the revolution and was leader of the guard that protected Samuel Adams and John 
Hancock at Lexington. 

had been walking for his Pleasure. I forbear to mention others lest 
you should complain of Tediousness. 

As I have mentioned Major Genl. Warren, it may not be amiss to 
give you a short Sketch of his Character. He was born near to Boston; 
& when young, was a bare legged milk Boy to furnish the Boston 
Market. He was a proper Successor to the bare legged Fisher Boy 
Massianello, & his Fate was almost as rapid. 21 Being possessed of a 
Genius which promised Distinction, either in Virtue or Vice, his 
Friends educated him at the College in Cambridge, to take his 
Chance of being a Curse or a Blessing to his Country. After he had 
been graduated, he studied Physick under a Capital Physician in 
Boston. But in that Town, a Man must look one Way & row another 
to get any Way a head; & that will not always do; if it would, Mr. 
Warren had a Mind susceptible of all Duplicity and in his Profes- 
sion, his Practice was not very rapid. He therefore look'd out for 
other Means of Subsistance. He married a tolerable Sum of Mony: 22 
he also took Administration on Part of a Gentlemans Estate which 
he appropriated to his own Use. Being of a very ambitious Cast, he 
listed under the Banner of the Faction, & urged on the boldest of 
their Schemes; untill his close Attendance, at the Altar of Sedition, 
had reduced his Finances to a very low Ebb. He was now forced to 
strike any bold Stroke that offered. Conquer or die were the only 
alternatives with him, & he publickly declared, that "he would 
mount the last Round of the Ladder or die in the Attempt!' 23 The 
Prophecy was ambiguous, he met his Fate in the latter. Had he 
conquered, Washington had remained in Obscurity; at least, he 
would not have been honored with the Eclat of a Coffee house, or 
of any other Assembly of Politicians, as the american Fabius. That 
Honor would have been reserved for those celebrated Heroes, who 
retard every Operation that tends to the Salvation of their Country. 

An Engineer, who served at this Battle, & was wounded in it, was 
a Mr. Richard Gridley. At the taking of Cape Breton, in 1745, he 
acted in the same Capacity, & executed his Office with great Ap- 
plause. Being a Man of Ingenuity, he, since that Time, had turned 
Projector, & met with the common Fate of Projectors, who, by at- 
tempting a Transmutation of other Substances into Gold, gener- 

21 Masaniello was a Neapolitan fisherman who led a revolt of the inhabitants of 
Naples against their Spanish rulers. 

22 Warren was married to Mercy Otis, sister of the younger Otis. 
23 See "An Address to the Soldiers? p. 159. 

ally find a Caput Mortuum at the Bottom of their Crucibles. 24 Thus 
being reduced, & swelled with great Self Importance, he deviated 
into the Road of Rebellion, in order to acquire Fame & a Subsistance. 
His Wound hath immortalized his Fame, as a Rebel But as to in- 
creasing his Hoards, it is not probable that Congress Paper Dollars 
will increase them, except in Bulk; for they are too like the Neiv- 
England Parson's Description of Self righteousness, vizt. "that the 
more a Man hath of it, the poorer he is!' 25 

A Mr. Henry Knox, who now fills the chief Departments in 
Washington's Artillery, is another high Partizan in the Rebellion. 
He was a Bookseller in the Town of Boston, but he was too Deep 
in Debt, for his Stock, to hesitate a Moment at any Scheme to extri- 
cate himself. 26 Rebellion first offered her Services, & he accepted 
them. Some of the late intercepted Letters are descriptive of his 
present Situation, & it appears by them that he can not expect to 
make a Fortune by the Congress Paper Dollars. It takes so great a 
Quantity of them to crowd into a Man's Stomach for one Dinner, 
that an hard Mexican Dollar is much easier of Digestion. In Short, 
if we review the List of those Heroes who compose Congresses, 
Committees, mock Government, & the chief army Departments, 
we shall find it filled up with Men, desperate in Ambition or in For- 
tune. As for those who follow their Leaders, they stand upon ye. 
compassionate List, for they know not what they do. The Founda- 
tion & Progress of this Rebellion may be epitomized in the Moral 
of the following Story. 

Among the Prisoners who were wounded, & confined in the 
Jail at Boston, was a Lieutenant, by the Name of Scott, a Person of 
a good natural Understanding. 27 A Gentleman of Humanity went 
to the Jail to visit & converse with the wounded, & to offer the 
Samaritan Service, of pouring Oil & Wine into their Wounds. Among 
the rest, he found this Scott to be a sensible, conversible Man; he 
offered to send him some Refreshment, to alleviate his Distress. 
Scott seemed surprized at the humane Offer, & said to him, "are you 

24 Probably taken from the Boston Weekly News-Letter ; April 16, 1773. 

25 Richard Gridley (171 1-96) served as an engineer in the battle of Louisburg in 1745 
and was a commander of the artillery in the Crown Point expedition of 1755. He con- 
structed breastworks for Breed Hill in 1775. 

26 Henry Knox (1750-1806) owned the London Book Store in Boston. Worthington 
C. Ford, "Henry Knox and the London Book-Store in Boston, 1771-1774? Proceedings 
of the Mass. Hist. Soc. y LXI (1928) , 227-303. 

27 Ezekiel Scott? 

in earnest Sir?" The Gentleman replied, "that he was; & if a Bottle 
or two of Wine, or any other Thing would be acceptable, that he'd 
send it to him!' Such a kind Offer did Scott's Heart good equal to 
the Medicine itself; & he accepted the Offer. The Gentleman then 
addressed him in this Manner: "Scott! I see you are a sensible Man; 
pray tell me how you came into this Rebellion?" 

He returned this Answer: "the case was this Sir! I lived in a 
Country Town; I was a Shoemaker, & got my Living by my Labor. 
When this Rebellion came on, I saw some of my Neighbors get 
into Commission, who were no better than my self. I was very am- 
bitious, & did not like to see those Men above me. I was asked to 
enlist, as a private Soldier. My Ambition was too great for so low 
a Rank; I offered to enlist upon having a Lieutenants Commission; 
which was granted. I imagined my self now in a Way of Promotion: 
if I was killed in Battle, there would be an end of me, but if my Cap- 
tain was killed, I should rise in Rank, & should still have a Chance 
to rise higher. These Sir! were the only Motives of my entering into 
the Service; for as to the Dispute between great Britain & the Colo- 
nies, I know nothing of it; neither am I capable of judging whether 
it is right or wrong!' This Instance will solve many Conjectures, rela- 
tive to the Unanimity of the Colonists in this Rebellion; & seperate 
such Instances from the Numbers collected in carrying it on, the 
Justice of their Cause, when weighed in the Ballance, will be found 

After the Battle of Bunkers Hill, Genl. Howe, took Post on an 
Hill, of the same Range of Hills, near to the Isthmus, where there 
could be no Approaches to discommode him. Had this Post been 
maintained after the Battle of Lexington, it is now evident, that all 
the Carnage of the ryth. June would have been prevented all that 
was to be done, now, was to endeavor to do better next Time f elix 
quern -faciunt, 28 was a Lesson to be well learned, but there are some 
Persons, who grow so callous upon a severe Flogging, that they 
seem unsusceptible of future Instruction; similar to the Discipline 
of the celebrated Dr. Busby, who, it was said, had whipped more 
Understanding out of his Pupils, than he had ever whipped into 
them. 29 

The Rebels took Possession of some very strong Posts, opposite 

28 "Happy the man whom the horns of others make wary!' Happy the man who is 
warned by others' bad luck. 

29 Richard Busby (1606-95) was notorious for his methods of enforcing discipline as a 

to those of Mr. Howe, at about a Mile's Distance; & they very 
rapidly extended them for 13 Miles, untill they had surrounded the 
Town of Boston, except where the Tide flowed to intercept them; & 
thus was the Town changed into a Prison. Mr. Washington was now 
fixed upon, by the Congress, to take upon him the Command of 
the continental Army. He had the greatest Reputation, as a Soldier, 
among the Southern Colonies. He was polite, humane, & popular. 
He soon came to the Massachusetts, & encamped in & about Cam- 
bridge., in View of the King's Troops. He had been promised, by 
the Massachusetts, a Body of 20,000 Men, well cloathed & armed; 
but when he came, he was much disappointed. However, as he had 
engaged In the Service, he was resolved to make the best of it, & dis- 
cipline his Men to the most Advantage. Ammunition & Artillery he 
much wanted; otherwise he might have done more than was done; 
for It seemed to be the principal Employment, of both Armies, to 
look at each other with Spy Glasses. The Rebel Army was so desti- 
tute of Artillery, that they sent to Ticonderoga, 200 Miles distant, 
to bring down a single Mortar, by Land; but luckily for them, tho' 
unfortunately for the british Troops, they had a Supply of War 
Stores, by taking an Ordnance Ship loaded for Boston. This gave 
them another Mortar. Powder also had been much wanted untill the 
Winter, when they were supplied with that also. 

In the mean Time, both Armies kept squibbing at each other, but 
to little Purpose; at one Time a Horse would be knocked in the 
Head, & at another Time a Man would be killed, or lose a Leg or 
an Arm; It seemed to be rather in Jest than in Earnest. At some Times, 
a Shell would play in the Air like a Sky Rocket, rather in Diversion, 
& there burst without Damage; & now & then, another would fall 
in the Town, & there burst, to the Terror or breaking of a few Panes 
of Glass; and during the whole Blockade, little else was done but 
keeping both Armies out of the Way of Idleness, or rather the whole 
Scene was an idle Business. But as little as the red Regiments per- 
formed, the black Regiment played its Artillery to some purpose, 

The Pulpit, Drum ecclesiastick 

Was beat with Fist, instead of a Stick 30 

to such Purpose, that their Cushions contained scarce Feathers, 
sufficient for the Operation of tarring & feathering one poor Tory. 

soSamuel Buder, Hudibras. In Three Parts . . , (London, 1726), Part I, canto i, p. 16, 

11. 11-12. 

The Name of the Lord was invoked to sanctifie any Villainy that was 
committed for the good old Cause. If a Man was buried alive, in 
Order to make him say their Creed, it was done in the Name of the 
Lord. Or if a Loyalist was tyed to an Horses Heels, & dragged 
through the Mire, it was only to convert him to the Faith of these 
Saints. It was now, that Hypocrisy, Falsehood & Prevarication with 
Heaven, had their full Swing, & mouthed it uncontrold. Mr. Wash- 
ington was provided with a Chaplain, who, with a Stentorian Voice 
& an Enthusiastick Mania, could incite his Army to greater Ardor 
than all the Drums of his Regiments; but he, unhappy Man! not long 
after, retired to his Home & made himself away, from future 
Service. 31 


Much hath been said, & many Exclamations thrown out, even in 
Parliament, by some popular Orators in the Opposition, against em- 
ploying the Indians, to whom they gave the Appellation of, Savages. 
Savage is a convertible Term. It properly designated a Person who 
acts contrary to the Principles of Humanity: An Englishman who 
hath been educated in Rules of civil Society, may, by a certain Tenor 
of Conduct, contract a Savageness of Manners which may exceed 
any Action which an Indian hath been guilty of; as you may, by & 
by, see, if you please, in the Appendix, Every Nation hath some- 
thing Peculiar in its Mode of War. An Indian prefers the Mode of 
fighting behind a Tree, or of skulking in Bushes. He prefers the 
Hatchet, the scalping Knife & the Tomahawk, to the Bayonet, the 
Sword & the Cutlass. His Weapons give, at least, as sudden, if not 
a less painfull Death, than the Englishman's Weapons. It is true, he 
doth not discover what is called english Courage, of standing un- 
daunted in open Field to be shot at; he rather chuses to be safe in 
his own Person, whilst he destroys the Person of his Enemy; but 
this is all, the Custom of Particular Nations. If you incline to put 
him to Death in a painfull Manner, he will convince You, that he 
can undergo the most excruciating Torture, without a Groan. This 
perhaps would be called, by a civilized European, a Savage Temper. 
The Definition of Courage is arbitrary. As to taking the Scalp off 
a dead Man, it will not give any great Pain; & this is the Trophy of 
their Victory, which they return Home with as their Voucher; & 
as to any Damage it may do to a dead Person, it is of no more Con- 
sequence than taking off the Shirt of his Garment. 

31 By cutting his throat (Oliver's note) . 

This Scalping Business hath been encouraged, in the Colonies, for 
more than a Century past. Premiums have been given, frequently, 
by the Massachusetts Assemblies, for the Scalps of Indians, even 
when they boasted loudest of their Sanctity; & I have seen a Vessell 
enter the Harbor of Boston, with a long String of hairy Indian 
Scalps strung to the rigging, & waving in the wind; but I never 
heared of an Englishmans scalping an Englishman, untill the Battle 
of Lexington told the savage Tale. And in the last Century, a War 
was waged with the Indian King Philip, who would have been equal 
to Julius Caesar had their Education been equal. A certain Warrior 
had acquired a great & a just Fame in his Victories over the French 
& the Indians, & had hunted King Philip down at last; but his Enmity 
subsisted, after he had killed him; for he most shamefully cut off his 
Hand, to preserve it as a Trophy; & not contented with so mean a 
Revenge, he condescended, in a spitefull Manner to chop his back- 
side with a Hatchet; insulting the dead, whilst in the Operation, 
with ignominious Language. This seemed to be done with the Air 
of savage Cowardice; as it doth not look fair to attack a Man behind; 
unless an Attack upon a dead Body will exculpate a Man from 
Cowardice. Whether King Philip, or the Province who employed 
this Warrior, found any Fault with this mean & base Transaction, 
the History is silent. 

But let Opposition roar, as loud as they please, against the em- 
ploying Indians in the present Contest with Rebellion; they cannot 
but remember, that Gen. Amherst employed them, under the Sanc- 
tion of their late Patron, against the French of Canada:, & surely, 
there cannot be a worse & baser Enemy than a Rebel, to whom the 
English Law has assigned the most ignominious Punishment. Besides, 
those very Men, whom the Opposition have encouraged in this Re- 
volt, appointed a Committee to meet the Iroquois^ or Five Nations, 
at Albany, in Order to engage them against their old Ally, Great 
Britain. Each Party met; &, agreeable to the ancient Custom of such 
Treaties, the Indians had the usual Frolick of the roasted Ox. The 
Parties then met upon their Business. The Commissioners proposed 
to the Indians, that they should join them against their Mother 
Country; but no Bribe was offered. The Indians were silent; the 
Convention was adjourned. The Blankets and other Presents were 
prepared against the next Meeting, to the Value of above 2000 
Sterlg. The next Meeting came, according to appointment. The 
presents were made, & when the Indians had full possession of them, 
they made this Reply, vizt. "This is a Quarrell between Father & 


Children; we shall not meddle with it!' Thus were these notable 
Commissioners outwitted in Indian Cunning. But they profited of 
their Disappointment, for the Saratoga Convention will be a stand- 
ing Witness of the Infidelity of an american rebel Treaty. 

Another Example was set, for the Use of the scalping Knife, by 
these very Men; who never complained of the Use of it untill they 
were disappointed in their Aims to bring it into Fashion. There was 
a Tribe of Indians who lived about 150 Miles from Boston, at a Place 
called Stockbridge, who were incorporated with the English Settlers, 
These Indians were brought down into the Rebel Incampments near 
Boston. They would approach nigh to the brirish Lines, & there 
flourish their scalping Knives, & yell, by Way of Insult. But these 
new Allies did not continue, for any Length of Time, among them; 
they were too fond of Liquor; they grew troublesome to them; 
there was no Bush fighting to employ them in; & they were dis- 
missed. Hence forward, let Patriotick Oratory & american Com- 
plaints, about the scalping Knife & Indian Savages, be controled by 
everlasting Silence. 


In this Year 1775, two Transactions of the Congress will render 
this ^Era memorable in future History. One was, a Bead-roll of 
Addresses, to the King; to the People of England; to the People of 
Ireland; & to the Inhabitants of Canada. And not long after, they 
added a List of colonial Greivances, like ye. Rattles in the Tail of 
the Rattle Snake, in order to make the other Parts more formidable. 
The other Transaction was their Expedition to conquer Canada. 

As to the first, they addressed his Majesty as an absolute Monarch, 
who had the Regulation of the State solely in his self. They fawned, 
they flattered, they were guilty of the most palpable Falshoods, they 
complained of his Ministers & his Parliament. What was something 
remarkable; this high & mighty Congress consisted of 52 Persons, 
& one fourth Part of them were Lawyers; yet this fourth Part, who 
ought to have known something of the English Constitution, con- 
tributed their Interest to address a King, who, in his political Ca- 
pacity, was but one third Part of that Body politick which could re- 
dress their pretended Greivances; & these very Men sacrificed their 
Understandings, in Order to make themselves of Consequence in 
a Republick. His Majesty had too much good Sense, not to see into 
the natural Consequences of their Schemes, & was too much of a 
Patriot King to listen to them. 

In their Addresses to the People of England & Ireland, they 
soothed them with dolefull, false Tales, of their Distresses from an 
arbitrary Government, & made such Representations of their Case, 
as that though they theirselves were the first Morsel that was to be 
devoured by the Tyrant Polypheme, yet it would soon come to the 
Turn of England & Ireland to be devoured also. They also inter- 
larded their Addresses, as artfull Cooks do some Species of Fowls, 
with Dissertations upon Popery; representing the Views of Parlia- 
ment to make the Realm & its Dominions to be a Smith-field of Fire & 
Faggots; 1 & warning England of its approaching Martyrdom. Every 
base & false Art was used to incite a Rebellion throughout the Realm, 
to keep Pace with that which they had raised in America; & they 
were well supported, by no ignoble Coadjutors, in England. But 

1 Smithfield was a place where executions were held outside the city boundaries of 


there was something defective In the Automaton. Some of the Cogs 
of Its Wheels did not play well into the others, so that it did 
not keep regular Time to the Satisfaction of the Congress. To make 
their Scheme more perfect, & to raise the Spirits of the Colonists, 
it was bruited throughout America, that the People in England 
were in Alarm on their behalf; that the Nation was bankrupt, & that 
Mr. W ilkes, with 100,000 Men at his Heels, was going to storm 
the Parliament House, & beselge Windsor Castle, to take the King 
as a Prisoner, & to do something else with him. All this was swallowed 
by wholesale, by their credulous Followers; & thus the Ball was 
kept up. 

Let us now cast an Eye upon their Address to the popish In- 
habitants of Canada. We do not find, in that, a Word about the 
Rags of Popery, about a Smith-field Fire, or an Inquisition Coach. 
No! God & Nature had made them free; they had a Right to exer- 
cise their own Religion, & to worship God according to their Con- 
sciences. But the English Nation were attempting to make Slaves 
of them all. Will Posterity beleive, that such a Compound of Ab- 
surdity, Weakness of Head, & infernal Wickedness of Heart, could 
be mixt by 52 Men, in whom was consolidated the Sense of thirteen 
united Colonies? They surely Imagined, that no others would read 
their different Addresses, but those to whom they were addressed; 
but could an Hottentot have read them all, even his Stupidity would 
have classed them, on the List of errant Folly or knight Errant 

As to their after List of above 20 Articles of colonial Greivances, 
which they published to all Europe, it would be too tedious to enter 
Into the Minutiae of them. Besides, they have been so compleatly 
answered, in two Treatises already published, & both In the Year 
1776, vizt. one entitled, Strictures upon the Declaration of the Con- 
gress, by Govr. Hutchinsonthe other entitled, an Answer to the 
Declaration of the american Congress, by John Lind Esqr., of the 
Temple; 2 that whoever would wish to know the true State of the 
Case, by adverting to these, will find such masterly Reasoning on 
the Subject, such a Developement of the Facts, such a Detection of 
Weakness & Malevolence, that if the Congress had consisted of ten 
Times the Number which composed it, their united Force could 

2 [HutchinsonJ, Strictures upon the Declaration of the Congress at Philadelphia: In a 
Letter to a Noble Lord, &c (London, 1776) ; [John Lind], An Answer to the Declara- 
tion of the American Congress (London, 1776) . 

not have supported their Cause against such Opponents; but they 
would have felt the force of that Maxim, magna est Veritas, et 


The Expedition to Canada was as follows: & know all Men by 
those who were present at the Congress, that whilst the Clergy, by 
Prayers, fasting & preaching, were trying to move Heaven; & the 
Congress, by Addresses, were moving Earth, to bring an Accomo- 
dation with Great Britain-, that this very Congress, with all the base 
Duplicity that the human Mind can be guilty of, at the same Moment 
formed this Expedition, to wrench Canada out of the Hands of the 
Mother Country. In Order to make sure of its Conquest, they formed 
two Armies; one to march by the Way of Lake Champlain, under 
the Command of General Schuyler, tho' General Montgomery was 
the Man who executed it: Colo. Benedict Arnold & Colo. Ethan 
Allen having previously scoured the Lake of what little british 
Force was upon it. 

The other Army was to go up Kennebeck River, in the eastern 
Parts of the Massachusetts Province; & to be commanded by Colo. 
Arnold, who was to meet Montgomery at Quebec-, the latter's Rout 
being by Mon[t]real, about 170 Miles above Quebec. 

That the Conquest might be easier, Emissaries of popish Priests 
from Maryland, where they abounded, were sent forward to Canada 
amongst the french Settlers, to seduce them; this was no difficult 
Task, & it was effectuated. The Congress, who pretended to be such 
warm Sticklers against Popery, now made it evident, that they 
thought Evil might be committed, if they could squeeze any Ad- 
vantage from it to answer their own Purposes. 

Perhaps you would be willing to know the Characters of those 
who have been mentioned as the Conductors of this Expedition. 

Schuyler was of Dutch Extract, of Albany. 4 He had served in 
the last War, in the Conquest of Canada, & had picked up in the 
Service, enough to make him a Man of Consequence. 

Arnold had been a Connecticut Horse Jockey. 5 He had been in 

3 "Truth is mighty and will prevail! 7 

4 Philip John Schuyler (1733-1804) was a delegate to the Continental Congress in 
1775 and served in the revolutionary army. 

5 Benedict Arnold (1741-1801 ) was born at Norwich, Conn., and saw service as a vol- 
unteer in the French and Indian War. For a time he was a druggist and bookseller at 
New Haven and invested his money in the business of selling horses and mules to West 
Indian plantation owners. 

Canada, as well as other Places, purchasing Horses for shipping to 
the West Indies, & for other Purposes. He was a bold, daring Man, 
& calculated for any arduous Enterprize: & for such Purposes, only, 
he was held in any Estimation. 

Ethan Allen was of Connecticut also; of a bad Character, & had 
been guilty of Actions bad enough to forfeit even a good one. 6 He 
was brave, but unprincipled; & after he had been a Prisoner in Can- 
ada, sent to England in Irons, as a Rebel, & afterwards dismissed, he 
openly acknowledged, when he was at Falmouth, that it was in- 
different to him for whom he fought; whether the King of Great 
Britain, the King of Spain or for America-, they who would give him 
the best Pay should have his Service. He went to New York, & was 
on his Parole of Honor; but soon broke it, & left the Peices of it with 
the british General, who might have known, that a Man who pos- 
sesses no Honor can neither give or lose any. This Man afterwards 
collected a Number of Adherents, & settled a District to the north- 
ward of New York, called Vermont-, which he maintained against 
the Power of the Congress, whom he brought into a great Dilemma, 
as that Tract of Land was in Dispute between two of the 1 3 Stripes; 
& they were loth to disoblige either of the contending Parries. How- 
ever, the matter now is sub silentio, since Ethan Allen has lately 
broke his Parole of Honor with them, & gone over to the King's 
Garrison at Ticonderoga-, carrying with him a large Number of 
Men. This Man seems to be so overstocked with Honor, that there 
will never be an End of its Dissipation. 

General Montgomery seems to have possessed an amiable Char- 
acter. 7 He certainly exhibited one, of great bravery. He had for- 
merly served in the british Army, wth. great Reputation, but having 
sold his Commission, he married into a Dutch republican Family, in 
New York Government, & imbibed a large portion of that Spirit 
so inimical to the British Constitution, that whoever is under the 
Influence of it, as rapidly runs into Rebellion as the Gadarene Swine 
did into the Lake; & very often, too, meet with the same or a similar 
Fate; for what the Sea refuses the Gallows accepts of. 

6 Ethan Allen (1738-89), born in Litchfield, Conn., was captured in the Canadian ex- 
pedition of 1775. He was exchanged as a prisoner in 1778 and was recommissioned by 
George Washington. His negotiations with the British during 1780 compromised his 
reputation as a patriot. 

7 Richard Montgomery (1738-75) was Irish born and educated. A British army offi- 
cer until 1772, he saw service in the battles of the Seven Years' War and was a member 
of the House of Commons. He came to America in 1772 and soon married Janet, the 
daughter of Robert R. Livingston. 

Montgomery set out from Albany in August 1775, with iioo 
Men. Schuyler afterwards followed with another large Body, but 
he himself soon left the Army to the Care of Montgomery. On the 
1 3th. of November, Mon[t]real surrendered. On the 30th. of No- 
vember, Montgomery sailed from Mon[t]real, with about 1500 
Men, & arrived before Quebec on the 5th. December, where he met 

Arnold left the rebel Camp at Cambridge on the 1 3th. September, 
with about n or 1200 Men; he embarqued at Newbury Port for 
Quenebeck River, & went up the River as far as the Batteaux could 
go; having, with great Labor, transported his Provisions & Batteaux, 
by Portages occasioned by many Falls; & arrived at Point Levy, op- 
posite to Quebec, on the nth. Novr. About 200 of his Men left 
him soon after he had entred the River Quenebeck', some by Reason 
of Sickness, & others through Dread of approaching Hardships: so 
that what by Deaths & Desertions he had not conducted to Point 
Levy above two thirds of the Army he set out with. This Expedi- 
tion was a most extraordinary Instance of Rapidity, Resolution & 
Perseverance. And this very Man hath, in January last, given an- 
other Instance of Courage & Conduct, in the Kings Service, by 
burning, destroying & capturing, the Rebel Magazines of Provisions, 
war Stores and Vessells up the Bay of Chesepeak in Virginia-, tho' 
not with so great Risque & Fatigues as what he met with in reaching 
Quebec-, for here were Mountains to be climbed; Rivers to be forded; 
Hunger to be grappled with, to such Degree that they were obliged 
to eat their Dogs & the Leather of their Shoes. Almost impenetrable 
Forests were to be forced; & every Obstacle, that the Wildness of 
Nature could throw in their Way, was to be surmounted; insomuch, 
that it was scarcely to be parallelled in the Records of History, but 
by Xenophons Retreat out of Persia. 

On 3 1 st. December Quebec was attacked by Montgomery & 
Arnold. The Matter was soon determined. Montgomery lost his Life, 
& Arnold was wounded in his Ankle; & thus ended the Congress 
Expedition, on which they founded the warmest Expectations. The 
whole of this Expedition is minutely & faithfully related, in a Pub- 
lication, entitled, The History of the civil War in America, wrote 
by an Officer of the Army, 8 who was in America about that Time; 
in which is given a Detail of Facts from the Year 1 765 to the quitting 

sThe History of the Civil War in America . . . 7775, 1776, and 7777. By an Officer of 
the Army (London, 1780) . 


of Philadelphia by the british Army in 1778. It is sensibly wrote, & 
the Facts are faithfully related; & it is well worth adverting to for 


I shall now leave the Congress at Philadelphia, & return to Boston, 
if I can get a Passport through the Rebel Army, which every day 
blockades the Town closer than the preceeding. I must leave all the 
Delicacies that so important a Body of men are epicurizing upon, & 
return to my former Fare of coarse Salt Beef on one day, & upon 
nothing the next; but which to give the Preference to, I am at a loss. 
If I can be excused from Shells & Shot, I shall be content with the 
latter, for they are much harder of Digestion, than nothing at all. 

In the Autumn of /77J, difficulties increased upon the British 
Troops & the Inhabitants, in Boston, whilst the rebel Army increased 
in Resources of Men & Stores, of which they had a full supply. Many 
Vessells, which were coming from England & Ireland, with Pro- 
visions & Stores for the Army & for the Inhabitants, were captured 
within a few Leagues of Boston-, and the Rebels Vessells arrived safe 
with Supplies for them. Genl. Gage embarqued for England in Oc- 
tober, & left the Command of the Civil, or rather no Government, 
to the Care of Lieut, Governor Oliver f & of the Army to General 

It was rather Astonishing, that so many Vessells should be cap- 
tured, & so near to so many King's Ships; when a great Part of them 
might have been saved. For, at a Place called Salem, within 3 or 4 
hours Sail from Boston, & another Place, vizt. Neivbury, at abt 
7 or 8 Hours Sail from Boston, were hauled up 7 or 800 Vessells of 
various Sorts, which might have been easily taken or destroyed. 
Had this been done, their privateering Resources of rigging & Sails 
would have been destroyed, for some Time at least. Besides, those 
two Towns of Salem & Newbury were deep in Rebellion, & if they 
too had been destroyed, such Destruction might have been justified 
on the common Principles of War, & of Humanity also; for had such 
Measures been taken at first, there is the highest Probability that 
thousands of Lives would have been saved, as well as enormous 
Expences of Treasure, to both England & America. But the Plea 
then was; that if such Measures were pursued, it would irritate the 

9 Thomas Oliver (1734-1815) was no relation of Peter and Andrew Oliver. Thomas 
became lieutenant governor in 1774. Kenneth B. Murdock, "Lieutenant Governor 
Thomas Oliver, 1734-1815;' Pubs, of the Colonial Soc. of Mass., XXVIII (1935), 37-66. 

[ 14 3 

Americans & make them desperate. Those who have made this Plea 
have lived to see the Erroneousness of their Calculations; & that ill- 
judged Lenity & a Forbearance to irritate have thrown Rebellion 
into the utmost Desperation. In short, it seemed to be the Business, 
of Navy & Army, to help each other in doing nothing, except parry- 
ing of the Knife which was held to their Throats; without disabling 
the Hand, which held it, from Execution. 

In the Winter of 7775, the severe cold Northwest Winds blew 
off the Coasts several Vessells with Troops & Provisions, that were 
transporting Relief for the Garrison at Boston-, and the Rebels had 
received such Supplies of Ammunition, so as to be ready for an 
Attack on the Opening of the Spring. It was expected that they 
would have made an Attack, upon the Ice, which surrounded the 
Town in the Depth of Winter. The Soldiers of their Army expected 
it, & the chief Men of their civil Government expressed their Uneasi- 
ness to Mr. Washington that he did not suffer it; when he told them 
that he had scarce a Round of Powder to a Man; but they soon had 
a Supply after the Severity of Winter was over, & then they began 
upon Exertions to drive off the Kings Troops from their strong 

There was an Hill, called Foster's Hill on Dorchester' s Neck, to 
the South East of Boston, across an Arm of the Sea, & within point 
blank Shot of the Town; from whence only, it seemed that the 
Town could be greatly annoyed. It had often been wished that this 
Hill had had proper Attention paid to it; & it had been repeatedly 
mentioned, that it was of the last Necessity to secure such a Position; 
but the general Answers were, that there was no Danger from it, & 
that it was to be wished that the Rebels would attempt to take Pos- 
session of it, as they could soon be dislodged We shall presently see 
how wise those military Calculations were. 

There was another Hill, a little to the Southward of Foster's Hill, 
still higher; a Redoubt upon which, with a small Force, would have 
been tenable against a very large Army of so undisciplined Troops 
as surrounded the Town: but perhaps it was against the Rules of 
War to have fortified either of those Hills. We are now to see the 
Consequences of such Conduct. 

The Weather now opening, to begin military Operations, the 
Rebels mustered between 20 & 30,000 Men: about 10 or 11,000 of 
whom began to throw up Works on the last mentioned Hill. This 
being observed from Boston, Genl. Howe determined to attack 
them. Accordingly he ordered a Corps of about 1700 Men to em- 

bark In large Vessells & Boats, to cross the Water, to attack them; 
he himself designing to march by Land to flank them, with another 
Corps. The first Corps were embarqued & sailed; but a most severe 
Storm arising at South, some of these Vessells grounded, & a Retreat 
was ordered. It was an happy Disappointment, for had the Attack 
been made, this steep Hill must have been climbed with Musquetry 
only; & the Rebels had placed Rocks & large Stones on the Top of 
it, to roll down & break the Ranks of the Kings Troops, whilst they 
theirselves were discharging their Balls at them. I have no doubt but 
the Kings Troops would have defeated the Rebels; but it would 
have been another Bunker's Hill affair; the Carnage would have 
been great, & Men could not have been so well spared as then; & 
after so many of them had been used up, there were no Resources 
for a Recruit. Thus this Expedition failed. 

The Month of March 1776 opened with a new Scene. The Rebels 
had waited long enough for the King's Troops to fortifie Foster's 
Hill\ & since they would not do it, the Rebels thought it a Pity so 
fine a Situation should not be occupied, and so fortified it theirselves. 
It was done thus! They had prepared a large Timber Battery, in sep- 
erate Pieces, as also a large Quantity of screwed Hay to fill between 
the Timbers when they were put together. There was no Suspicion 
of such a Battery being in Preparation, untill after a long dark Night 
it arose in full View, & began to play upon the Town. It was now 
Time for the Troops in Town to make the best Terms for theirselves, 
& to get off as fast as they could; for in vain would they have fired 
to destroy this Battery, made of Wood & Hay; they might have fired 
at it 'till this Day & would have made but little Impression. Although 
the Weather was cool, yet the Town was hot enough; for the Rebels 
kept up an incessant Fire with Shells & Shot into it, for 6 suc- 
cessive Nights; but, to the astonishment of all, with scarcely any 

Affairs being in this Situation, & Genl. Howe having had Orders 
from Home to evacuate Boston, he gave Notice to Genl. Washing- 
ton of such his Purpose; informing him, that if he would suffer him 
to embark unmolested that he would not injure the Town; other- 
wise, that he would lay it in Ashes. Some of the Rebels were for 
suffering the Town to be demolished; but there being so many good 
Buildings & so much Treasure in it, the major Part prevailed, & his 
Proposal was complied with. Immediately all Hands were at Work 
for evacuation; & the Cathartick was of so drastick a Nature, that 
by the lyth. of the Month, Boston was emptied of it's late Inhab- 

Itants, & a new Generation supplied their Places. Notwithstanding 
of the great Assiduity in embarking, Genl. Howe was obliged to 
leave many valuable Stores behind him. 

The Destruction of that fine Fortress, Castle William, took up 
about a Week; & on the zoth. of March it was finished. 10 On the 
lyth. the last Division of the Fleet of Troops & Inhabitants sailed 
from Nantasket road, about 9 Miles from Boston, & on the 2nd. of 
April arrived at Hallifax. 

[There were] Vast Numbers of the Inhabitants of Boston & of 
those who had fled thither, as to an Asylum, from the Cruelties of 
Rebellion. Many Loyalists were left behind, who had nothing to 
support them from their Homes; & many, who had Families which 
they were loth should be separated, as there was not Transports for 
all who would have been willing to have embarked. These were 
obliged to take their Chances of ill Usage, & some of them felt it 
severely; particularly six Gentlemen of good Reputation. One of 
these six, in particular, was used in a strictly diabolical Manner; he 
was a Loyalist, but an inoffensive one in his Behavior; he had an 
amiable Wife & several amiable Children; the Rebel Cart, in Imita- 
tion of the Inquisition Coach, called at his Door in the Morning, & 
they ordered him into the Cart, not suffering him to take his Hat 
with him; his Wife, at the same Time, begging on her Knees, to 
spare her Husband; & his Daughters crying, with Intreaties. This 
infernal Crew were deaf to the Cries of Distress, & drove on, untill 
they had got the six into the Cart; whom they carried to the Kings 
Lines, at the extreme Part of the Town, & there tipped up the Cart, 
& tumbled them into a Ditch; & not content with this diabolical 
Barbarity, they forbad their entring the Town again; & at the same 
Time, also, forbad the People in the Country to give them Food or 
to shelter them. Step forward thou Iroquois Savage! & drop your 
Tear of Humanity over this horrid Scene of Barbarity, perpetrated 
in a Town which for many, very many Years past, hath boasted of 
the Sanctity of Christianity! 

It is in vain to plead Excuse, that this & many other like Diabolical 
Cruelties were acted by Mohawks, or the Rabble: they, & this also, 

10 Oliver went aboard the Pacific on March 10, 1776, but the ship did not leave the 
harbor until March 21, giving Oliver the opportunity of seeing Castle William blown 
up by the retreating British: "The blowing up of the Castle Walls continued: and at 
night all the combustible part of the Castle was fired. The conflagration was the most 
pleasingly dreadful that I ever beheld: sometimes it appeared like the eruption of 
Mount Etna. . . !' The Diary and Letters of . . . Thomas Hutchinson . . . , ed. Peter 
Orlando Hutchinson (London, 1884-86) , II, 47. 

C '43:1 

were transacted in open Day, that the Sun & the civil Government 
might be Witnesses to the horrid Deeds, but Heaven, in this Instance, 
interposed, & inspired into the Hearts of some People in the Country 
so much Humanity, as to save these unhappy Sufferers from meet- 
ing the cruel Deaths assigned to them by their Persecutors, and even 
a Colo, of a rebel Regiment, who was quartered near the Town, was 
so roused wth. a compassionate Resentment, that he succoured them; 
& declared to his Employers, that if such Inhumanity was suffered, 
he would resign his Commission & quit their cause. 


I have now Sir! finished my Narrative of the American Rebellion. 
I have brought it down to the ^Era I first proposed to myself. I have 
confined it chiefly to the Province of the Massachusetts Eay\ although 
I have now & then made an Excursion to some of the other british 
Colonies. What relates to this Rebellion, after the evacuation of 
Boston, I must refer you to authentick Documents, which have been 
published, according to the Series of Transactions wch. have oc- 
curred since that Time. My intent was to elucidate the original, as 
well as the occasional Causes, which tended to stimulate the Seeds 
of this Rebellion to a progressive Vegetation. If I have thrown any 
Light upon the Subject, I shall be pleased in having executed my 
Intention. The Narrative hath been Lengthy. I wish it may not 
have been tedious to You. Many of the Shades of the Portraits, both 
of Persons & Times, I confess are very dark: that is not my Fault. 
My Business was to draw true Portraits. If Nature hath been dis- 
torted by the wild Freaks of the various human Passions, neither 
she or I ought to be blamed. If she had been suffered to proceed in 
her own Operations, I should have been saved the Trouble of re- 
lating such disagreeable Facts; & you Sir! would have escaped the 
Chagrin of reading them. Upon a Review of this Narrative, I am 
not conscious of the least Exaggeration to a Man at Ease, & un- 
acquainted with the Deformity of the human Mind; it might appear 
all Exaggeration where Deformity is depictured; but I have adhered 
stricdy to what I esteemed to be Truth. Many of the Facts I was 
personally acquainted with, & others I have the best Authorities for; 
such Authorities, which I would give almost equal Credence to 
Facts, as to my own Knowledge of them. Such Facts of Consequence, 
as have occurred to my Memory, of Importance to be related, I have 
thrown out to you. Many disagreeable Mmutice I have omitted, & 

should have been better pleased to have thrown a Veil over the whole, 
had not the -fiat Justhia, mat Ccelum stimulated me to give the Truth, 
& nothing but the Truth. 11 1 hope the Distortions of Nature will not 
put either of us out of Conceit with Nature herself, but put both of 
us upon following one of her most usefull Dictates, that of pitying 
those whom we are obliged, in justice to Mankind, to blame. 

Let me detain You a few Minutes longer, in reviewing the Sub- 
ject. We have seen Englishmen quitting their Nat ale Solum, 12 to 
migrate into a new & distant Country, under the Pretence of en- 
joying, that unalienable Right of all Mankind, the Liberty of wor- 
shipping God according to the Dictates of their own Consciences. 
We have seen their Solemn Declarations, of their most sincere Affec- 
tion to the Church of England, in the Pale of which they were born 
& nurtured, and we have seen, too, their sudden Defection from, & 
discontinuance of, that very Church, as well as the Persecution of 
their Bretheren who differed from them in religious Sentiment. 

We have seen a Set of Men favored with the Liberty & Charter 
Grant of an extended Country, under ye. Auspices of the english 
Government; & protected by it; but under an Obligation to con- 
form to such Regulations as should be made by its Authority. We 
have seen these new Settlers, for a long Series of Years, paying all 
due Deference to those Regulations, as stipulated in their Charter. 
We have seen them also rising, by easy Gradations, to such a State 
of Prosperity & Happiness as was almost enviable, but we have seen 
them also run mad with too much Happiness, & burst into an open 
Rebellion against that Parent, who protected diem (upon their most 
earnest Entreaties & humble Solicitations) against the Ravages of 
their Enemies. This, in private Life would be termed, base Ingrati- 
tude; but Rebellion hath sanctified it by the Name of, Self Defence 
and why is the sudden Transition made, from Obedience to Rebel- 
lion, but to gratifye the Pride, Ambition & Resentment, of a few 
abandoned Demagogues, who were lost to all Sense of Shame & of 
Humanity? The generality of the People were not of this Stamp; 
but they were weak, & unversed in the Arts of Deception. The 
Leaders of the Faction deceived the Priests, very few of whom but 
were as ignorant as the People; & the Wheel of Enthusiasm was set 
on going, & its constant Rotation set the Peoples Brains on Whirling; 
& by a certain centrifugal Force, all the Understanding which the 

1:L "Let justice be done, though Heaven should fall!' 
12 "Native soil, native country!' 


People had was whirled away, as well as that of the Clergy; & a 
Vacuum was left for Adams, & his Posse to crowd in what Rubbish 
would best serve their Turn. 

The Ingratitude of this Rebellion must appear in a most striking 
Point of View, when it is considered, that Great Britain, (the Parent 
State) had given her Millions, in Bounties, to encourage the Growth 
& Produce of her Plantations. Nay she had discouraged the raising 
some Articles within the Realm, particularly Tobacco, in order that 
her Dominions might monopolize the Growth of it. She gave 
Bounties also upon Pitch, Tar, Deals, &ca. And she had expended 
many more Millions, in defending the Colonies against the Incursions 
& Conquests of their as well as of her Enemies; & the Massachusetts 
Province, in particular, where this Rebellion began, had often felt 
the strongest Instances of a Parent's Regard & Tenderness. This 
Province had for many Years groaned under the Incursions of vari- 
ous Tribes of Indians, who were instigated by the french Govern- 
ment of Canada to break up the english Settlements, & murder the 
Inhabitants of them; insomuch, that the french Governor of Canada, 
Monsieur Vaudreil, had a large Room hung round with English 
Scalps, with which he frequently insulted the English; agreeable to 
the Politeness of a french Barbarian. Those Incursions of the Indians, 
who were headed by french Partizans, grew intolerable. The Massa- 
chusetts, in the Year 1745, undertook the Risque & the greatest Part of 
the Expence of conquering Cape Breton. 13 The Charges were so 
great, that they theirselves thought, that if the Expedition failed it 
would compleat their Ruin by a numine favente 14 it succeeded, & 
great Britain reimbursed their Charges, by remitting them in Mexico 
Dollars; with which they redeemed their most infamous fallacious 
Paper Currency, similar to the present Congress Paper Dollars; & 
instated them in Peace & Plenty. 15 

In about 10 Years after, a new War, between Great Britain & 
France broke outthe french Government were determined to 
avenge themselves on the New England Governments, for the af- 

13 Richard W Van Alstyne, The Rising American Empire (Oxford, 1960), pp. 1-27; 
Schutz, "Imperialism in Massachusetts during the Governorship of William Shirley, 
1741-1756" Huntington Library Quarterly, XXIII (1960), 22 1-225. 

14 "Fortune favoring!' 

15 Hutchinson used his vast political power, in association with that of Governor Wil- 
liam Shirley, to force a sound currency through the legislature. Some politicians never 
forgave Hutchinson for this action. Malcolm Freiberg, "Thomas Hutchinson and the 
Province Currency^' New England Quarterly, XXX (1957), 195-208. 

front offered by them in the Capture of Cape Breton In the last War, 
These Governments were in the greatest Anxiety & Alarm; they 
Petitioned the Parent State, in the most suppliant Terms, for Aid 
against their Enemies; they represented their Danger in the most 
piteous Accents. Their Prayers & Supplications were heard. They 
acknowledged their Dependance upon the best Government existing 
upon Earth. In Consequence of their Intreaties & from a Sense of the 
Importance of the Cause, Great Britain, if I may so term it, threw 
away 50 Millions more, & conquered Canada, with all its Depend- 
encies; & America, was liberated from her fears of her old perfidious 

Such a Liberation, it might have been reasonably thought, would 
have inspired the Colonists with the warmest Sense of Gratitude & 
Respect to their Benefactor. It was rather the Reverse. The Faction 
(for there was always a Faction In the Massachusetts Province, par- 
ticularly in Boston) seemed to exult in the general Joy; but they 
exulted also that they had got rid of a formidable Enemy, who stood 
in their Way of entering the List with Great Britain. They rendered 
it an Affair of little Consequence to them, & boasted of their great 
Efforts in furnishing so many Men for the Conquest, as they had sent 
to join the british Troops. It is true, that this Province did send great 
Numbers of Men, but they served little other Purposes, but to assist 
the british Army in Camp Labours & scouting Parties; for as to the 
fighting Part of the Business, Canada might have rested in Peace 
from any Fear of them: and it was but two Years before the Con- 
quest of it, that the French General Montcalm was making his In- 
roads on these New England Governments, with but 4000 Men; 
when this very Province, consisting of above 40,000 fighting Men, 
were in so great Consternation, when the french General was above 
150 Miles from Boston, that publick Orders were just upon being 
issued, to drive all the Cattle in, & bring off or destroy the Carriages. 
This boasted Supply of Men was of great Service to the Province; 
for the Pay of them & the Supply of Provisions & other Necessaries 
for the Army, added to the general Stock of Wealth: & Silver & 
Gold were so plenty among the lower Degrees, that I have known 
Men, who, before these Campaigns, might have searched their 
Pockets in vain all Day for an half Penny, & could now shew & brag 
of their Dollars & their Johannes. Now the Faction said, that they 
did not care if the French had it again; & this they said, because they 
knew that they could not have it again and there were many Loyal- 
ists, who wished the same Thing, but from a different Principle. 

They saw the Buds of the present Rebellion began to swell. They 
had exerted theirselves in the Subdual of Canada, not weighing the 
Consequences of it; 'till it was too late. They now saw, that had 
Canada remained in the Hands of its former Possessors, it would have 
been attended with less ill Consequence than what was likely to en- 
sue upon the Conquest of it: & it is now apparent, that had that been 
the Case, the present Rebellion might have remained in Embrio, un- 
till some future Age had brought it into publick Existence. 

The Congress, in ijj6, published their Declaration of Independ- 
ence. The Minority, or Opposition in Parliament said, that the Min- 
istry had drove them into it by Oppression, & that Oppression would 
make a wise Man mad. The Faction In America seem to have made 
Dupes of all they had to do with. They duped the Clergy, they 
duped the People & they duped the wise Men of Gotham in Eng- 
land. If these wise Men disown ye. Shame of being duped by an 
American, they must take the Shame of being the Betrayers of their 
Country, by encouraging them to the bold Stroke which they have 
struck for Independence. The Alternative is in their Choice. But 
they are mistaken in their Fact. Independence, it is true, was de- 
clared in Congress in 1776, but it was settled in Boston, in 1768, by 
Adams & his Junto. I have Authority for this Assertion; the Author- 
ity of a Gentleman who was tampered with by the aforementioned 
Major GenL Warren, who was a most active Man among the Fac- 
tion. Warren was in Hopes to take this Gentleman into their Num- 
ber, & laid open their whole Scheme. He told him that "Independ- 
ence was their Object; that it was supposed that great Britain 
would resent it & would lay the Town of Boston in Ashes, from their 
Ships; that an Estimate had accordingly been made of the Value of 
the Estates in Town; & that they had determined to pay the Losses 
of their Friends from the Estates of the Loyalists in the Country!' 
The Gentleman refused to join with them, but Warren replied, that 
they would pursue their Scheme. This Scheme was not divulged to 
the People, for had it been generally communicated to the People, 
I beleive, they would, then, have been shocked at the Proposal; 
although they have, since that, had the Changes of Popery & Slavery 
so often rung in their Ears, that they are now reconciled to it. 

As to the Effrontery of the Congress, in publishing so many false 
Facts to the World, it is evidential of Foreheads capped with Brass 
& Hearts lined with Steel. Their Arguments of Defence have been 
often confuted by able Pens, upon the Principles of Government in 

general, & the english Constitution in particular; & their Falsity of 
Facts, as frequently detected. The Issue hath been, that a fine Coun- 
try, like the Land of Canaan, flowing with Milk & Hony, is turned 
into a dreary Wilderness, enstamped with Vestiges of War, Famine & 
Pestilence. 16 The Inhabitants of this Country bewailing the Loss of 
70 or 80,000 Thousands of their Friends and Neighbors by Sword 
& Pestilence. And instead of their usual Happiness, of sitting under 
their own Vines & Figtrees in Peace, [they are] now constantly ter- 
rified by the Din of Arms, & [are] groaning under the Weight of 
60 or 70 Millions Sterg. Taxes, which scarce any thing can redeem 
them from but the kind Hand of Death. And all these Distresses 
they have been plunged into, by an Otis, an Adams, a Franklin, & a 
few others of the most abandoned Characters, aided by a Set of 
Priests, who are a Disgrace to Christianity, & would have been the 
Opprobrium of even Mahometism. And let me add that this Rebel- 
lion would never have come to its present Maturity, by all the 
Efforts that could have been made by any or all of the factious 
Colonists, as there were Loyalists among them, sufficient in Num- 
bers, Sense & Virtue who could have banked out the Inundation, 
but a most detestable Opposition offered & lent their Aid to en- 
courage it. An Opposition in England, compounded of all Orders & 
Degrees: the Merchants from a View to gain; the Clergy from a 
View to introduce Republicanism; the Orators from a View to Pop- 
ularity & to distress Administration; & as they had behaved with 
Infamy when they were in, so they were determined to retain their 
Characters now they were out. Majesty hath been insulted. The most 
amiable, benevolent & Patriot Sovereign hath been treated with that 
Contempt which a private Subject would not have past unnoticed. 
Every Species of Chicane hath been practised, to distress, & to sub- 
vert the Foundations of a Government, which hath long been the 
Admiration and Envy of Foreigners; & have brought it so near the 
Verge of Ruin, as to set Fire to the Metropolis of Europe, London, 
which had almost involved it in a general Conflagration, that would 
have plunged the Nation into Bankruptcy: & after all, some of those 
very Men complaining of the Exercise of that military Force which, 
alone, suppressed the Fury of the Flames. Besides these Efforts, they 
have drove two Millions of happy Colonists to the Precipice of 
almost irremediable Ruin; & have so changed the Temper of their 

16 These words are omitted from the Huntington Library copy of the manuscript. 

Minds, as exactly conforms to the Character of the Jews\ of which 
the following Lines of Dry den-, in his Absalom & Achitophel, are 

so descriptive, vizt. 

The Jews, a head strong, moody, murmuring Race, 

As ever tried th' extent & stretch of Grace: 

God's pamper'd People, whom, debauch'd with Ease, 

No King could govern, nor no God could please. 

These Adam-Wits, too fortunately free, 

Began to dream they wanted Liberty, 

And when no Rule, no Precedent was found, 

Of Men, by Laws less circumscrib'd & bound; 

They led their wild Desires to Woods & Caves, 

And thought that all but Savages were Slaves. 

Those very Jews, who at their very best, 

Their Humour, more than Loyalty exprest, 

Now wonder'd, why so long they had obey'd 

An Idol Monarch, which their Hands had made; 

Thought they might ruin him they could create, 

Or melt him to that golden Calf, a State. 

The sober Part of Israel, free from Stain, 

Well knew the Value of a peacefull Reign; 

And looking backward with a wise Affright, 

Saw Seams of Wounds, dishonest to the Sight; 

In Contemplation of whose ugly Scars, 

They curst the Memory of civil Wars. 

For David's Mildness manag'd it so well, 

The bad had no Occasion to rebel. 

But when to Sin our byass'd Nature leans, 

The carefull Devil is still at Hand with Means; 

And providently pimps for ill Desires; 

The good old Cause reviv'd, a Plot requires. 17 

17 The "good old Cause" was a Whig euphemism that justified the cause of liberty 
against tyranny and implied the legality of armed resistance against tyrants. The phrase 
was used by the Whig martyr Algernon Sidney on Dec. 7, 1683, as a climax of his 
speech from the scaffold: "Grant [O Lord! ] that I may die Glorifying Thee for all 
Thy mercies; and that at the last Thou hast permitted me to be singled out as a Witness 
of thy Truth; and even by the Confession of my Opposers, for that OLD CAUSE in 
which I was from my Youth engaged; and for which thou hast Often and Wonderfully 
declared thyself!' An account of the popularity of Sidney in revolutionary America can 
be found in Caroline Robbins, The Eighteenth-Century CoTmnonwealthman (Cam- 
bridge, Mass., 1959), pp. 45 if. For John Dry den the old cause was the original sin of 
disobedience instigated by the Devil, and so with William Baron, Regicides: No Saints 
nor Martyrs (London, 1700), pp. 8, 16, 27. 

Plots, true or false, are necessary Things, 
To raise up Commonwealth & ruin Kings. 18 

I have now finished, & as I have wrote with a currents C alamo I 
can see many Faults in the Mode, which I have not Leisure to cor- 
rect but none in the Substance. Perhaps you will see more in the 
former than I do. These I submit to your Candor for Excuse. As to 
the Substance, I neither ask Pardon of You or myself, as I am not 
conscious of any Disguise of Truth in the Relation of Facts. 

If I have given You Information, my End is answered. It is what 
you desired, & what I have aimed at. If you are pleased, it will give 
a particular Satisfaction to him who assures You, that he is 


Your f aithf ull Friend 
& humble Servant. 


Works of John Dryden, ed. Saintsbury, IX, 232-233, 11. 45-48, 51-56, 61-66, 69- 
74, 77-84. 
19 "Offhand, informally! 5 Literally, "with a running pen!' 


Exhibiting a few, out of the many, very innocent Frolicks of Rebel- 
lion, especially in the Province of Massachusetts Bay. 1 

1774 August 

A Mob in Berkshire assembled, & forced the Justices of the Court 
of common Pleas from their Seats on the Bench, and shut up the 
Court House, preventing any Proceedings at Law. At the same Time 
driving one of his Majesty's Justices of the Peace from his Dwelling 
House, so that he was obliged to repair to Boston for Protection by 
the Kings Troops. 

At Taunton also, about 40 Miles from Boston, the Mob attacked 
the House of Daniel Leonard Esqr., one of his Majesty's Justices of 
the Peace; & a Barrister at Law. They fired Bullets into the House, & 
obliged him to fly from it to save his Life. 

A Colo. Gilbert j a Man of Distinction & a firm Loyalist, living at 
Freetown, about 50 Miles from Boston, being absent about 20 Miles 
from his Home, was attacked by a Mob of above an 100 Men, at 
Midnight. But being a Man of great Bravery & Strength, he, by his 
single Arm, beat them all off. And on the same Night, & at the same 
Place, Brigadier Ruggles, a distinguished Friend of Government, & 
for many Years a Member of the general Assembly, was attacked by 
the same Mob; but by his firm Resolution he routed them all. They, 
in Revenge, cut his Horses Tail off & painted him all over. The Mob 
found that Paint was cheaper than Tar and Feathers. 

September 1774. 

The Attorny General, Mr. Seawall, 2 living at Cambridge, was 
obliged to repair to Boston under the Protection of the King's 
Troops. His House at Cambridge was attacked by a Mob, his Win- 
dows broke, & other Damage done; but by the Intrepidity of some 
young Gentlemen of the Family, the Mob were dispersed. 

^Most of these reports of disasters were taken from the Boston Weekly News-Letter, 
Feb. 23, 1775. 

2 Jonathan Sewall was the nephew of Stephen Sewall, the chief justice of the Superior 
Court whom Thomas Hutchinson succeeded in 1760. 

About the same Time Thomas Oliver Esqr. the Lieut Govr. of 
Massachusetts Province, was attacked in his House at Cambridge, 
by a Mob of 4000 Men; & as he had lately been appointed, by his 
Majesty, one of the new Council, they forced him to resign that 
Office; but this Resignation did not pacify the Mob; he was soon 
forced to fly to Boston for Protection. This Mob was not mixed with 
tag, rag & Bobtail only, Persons of Distinction in the Country were 
in the Mass, & as the Lieut. Governor was a Man of Distinction, he 
surely ought to be waited upon by a large Cavalcade & by Persons 
of Note. 

In this Month, also, a Mob of 5000 collected at Worcester, about 
50 Miles from Boston, a thousand of whom were armed. It being at 
the Time when the Court of Common Pleas was about sitting, the 
Mob made a lane, & compelled ye. Judges, Sheriff, & Gentlemen of 
the Bar, to pass & repass them, Cap in Hand, in the most ignominious 
Manner; & read their Disavowall of holding Courts under the new 
Acts of Parliament, no less than Thirty Times in the Procession. 

Brigadier Ruggles's House at Hardivicke, about 70 Miles from 
Boston, was also plundered of his Guns, & one of his fine Horses 
poisoned. 3 

Colo. PhipSy the high Sheriff of Middlesex, was obliged to promise 
not to serve any Processes of Courts; & retired to Boston for Pro- 

A Committee, with a Justice Aikin at their Head, & a large Mob at 
their Heels, met at Taunton aforesaid, at Term Time, & forbid the 
Court of Common Pleas to sit. 

Peter Oliver Esqr., a Justice of the Peace at Middleborough, was 
obliged by the Mob to sign an Obligation not to execute his Office 
under the new Acts. At the same Place, a Mr. Silas Wood, who had 
signed a Paper to disavow the riotous Proceedings of the Times, was 
dragged by a Mob of 2 or 300 Men about a Mile to a River, in Order 
to drown him; but one of his Children hanging around him with 
Cries & Tears, he was induced to recant, though, even then, very 

The Mob at Concord, about 20 Miles from Boston, abused a Dep- 
uty Sheriff of Middlesex, & compelled him, on Pain of Death, not to 

3 Timothy Ruggles (1711-95) had risen as a soldier in the French and Indian War to 
the rank of brigadier general. As a Loyalist he was forced to leave Massachusetts in 
1775 and spent his later life in Nova Scotia. 


execute the Precepts for a new Assembly; they making him pass 

through a Lane of them, sometimes walking backwards, & sometimes 
forward, Cap in Hand, & they beating him. 

Revd. Mr. Peters, of Hebron in Connecticut, an Episcopalian 
Clergyman, after having his House broke into by a Mob, & being 
most barbarously treated in it, was stript of his Canonicals, & carried 
to one of their Liberty Poles, & afterwards drove from his Parish. 
He had applied to Governor Trumble & to some of the Magistrates, 
for Redress; but they were as relentless as the Mob; & he was obliged 
to go to England incognito, having been hunted after, to the Danger 
of his Life. 

William Vdssall Esqr., a Man of Fortune, and quite inoffensive in 
his publick Conduct, tho' a Loyalist, was travelling with his Lady 
from Boston to his Seat at Bristol, in Rhode Island Government, 
about 60 Miles from Boston, & were pelted by the Mob in Bristol, 
to the endangering of their Lives. 

All the Plimouth Protestors against Riots, as also all the military 
Officers, were compelled by a Mob of 2000 Men collected from 
that County & the County of Barnstable to recant & resign their 
military Commissions. Although the Justices of the Peace were then 
sitting in the Town of Plimouth, yet the Mob ransack' d the House 
of a Mr. Foster, a Justice of the Court of Common Pleas, a Man of 
70 Ifears of Age, which obliged him to fly into the Woods to secrete 
himself, where he was lost for some Time and was very near to the 
loosing of his Life. Afterwards, they deprived him of his Business, & 
would not suffer him to take the Acknowledgment of a Deed. 

A Son of one of the East India Companies Agents being at Plim- 
outh collecting Debts, a Mob roused him, in the Night, & he was 
obliged to fly out of the Town; but ye. Midnight favoured his Escape. 

December 1774 

A Jesse Dunbar, of Hallifax, in the County of Plimouth, an honest 
Drover, had bought a fat Ox of one of his Majesty's new Council, 
& carried it to Plimouth for sale. The Ox was hung up & skinned. He 
was just upon quartering it, when the Town's Committee came to 
the Slaughter House, & finding that the Ox was bought of one of the 
new Councellors, they ordered it into a Cart, & then put Dunbar 
into the Belly of the Ox and carted him 4 Miles, with a Mob around 

him, when they made him pay a Dollar after taking three other 
Cattle & an Horse from him. They then delivered him to another 
Mob, who carted him 4 Miles further, & forced another Dollar from 
him. The second Mob delivered him to a third Mob, who abused 
him by throwing Dirt at him, as also throwing the Offals, in his Face 
& endeavoring to cover him with it, to the endangering his Life, & 
after other Abuses, & carrying him 4 Miles further, made him pay 
another Sum of Mony. They urged the Councellors Lady, at whose 
House they stopped, to take the Ox; but she being a Lady of a firm 
Mind refused; upon which they tipped the Cart up & the Ox down 
into the Highway, & left it to take Care of it self. And in the Month 
of February following, this same Dunbar was selling Provisions at 
Plimouth, when the Mob seized him, tied him to his Horse's Tail, & 
in that Manner drove him through Dirt & mire out of the Town, & 
he falling down, his Horse hurt him. 

In November 1774, David Dunbar 4 of Hallifax aforesaid, being 
an Ensign in the Militia, a Mob headed by some of the Select Men 
of the Town, demand [ed] his Colours of him. He refused, saying, 
that if his commanding Officer demanded them he should obey, oth- 
erwise he would not part with them: upon which they broke into 
his House by Force & dragged him out. They had prepared a sharp 
Rail to set him upon; & in resisting them they seized him (by his pri- 
vate parts) & fixed him upon the Rail, & was held on it by his Legs 
& Arms, & tossed up with Violence & greatly bruised so that he did 
not recover for some Time. They beat him, & after abusing him 
about two Hours he was obliged, in Order to save his Life, to give 
up his Colours. 

Quaere Whether it would not have been as strictly legal to have 
stolen the Colours from his House, without all this Parade? 

The Mob Committee, of the County of York, where Sr. William 
Pepperells large Estate lay, ordered that no Person should hire any 
of his Estates of him, nor buy any Wood of him, nor pay any Debts 
to him that were due to him. 

One of the Constables of Hardwick, for refusing to pay the Pro- 
vincial Collection of Taxes which he had gathered, to the new Re- 
ceiver General of the rebel Government, was confined & bound for 
36 Hours, & not suffered to lie in a Bed, & threatened to be sent to 

4 According to the Boston Weekly News-Letter ; Feb. 23, 1775, Dunbar's first name 
was Daniel. 

Simsbury Mines in Connecticut. These Mines being converted into 
a Prison, 50 Feet under Ground, where it is said that many Loyalists 
have suffered. The Officers Wife being dangerously ill, they suffered 
him to see her, after he had complied. 

The aforementioned Colo. Gilbert was so obnoxious for his At- 
tachment to Government, that the Mobs being sometimes afraid to 
attack him openly, some of them secretly fired Balls at him in the 
Woods. And as he was driving a Number of Sheep to his Farm, he 
was attacked by 30 or 40 of them, who robbed him of part of the 
Flock, but he beat the Mob off. And this same Colo. Gilbert was, 
some Time after, travelling on his Business, when he stopped at an 
Inn to bait his Horse. Whilst he was in the House, some Person lift up 
the Saddle from his Horse & put a Piece of a broken Glass Bottle un- 
der the Saddle; & when the Colo, mounted, the Pressure run the Glass 
into the Horses back, which made him frantick. The Horse threw 
his rider, who was so much hurt as not to recover his Senses 'till he 
was carried & arrived at his own House, at 3 Miles distance. 

In September 1774, when the Court of Common Pleas was assem- 
bled for the Business of the Term, at Springfield, a large Mob col- 
lected, & prevented the sitting of the Court; they would not suffer 
Bench or Bar to enter the Court House; but obliged Bench, Sher- 
iffs & Bar, with their Hats off, in a most humiliating Manner, to 

February 1775 

A Number of Ladies, at Plimouth, attempted to divert their selves 
at the publick Assembly Room; but not being connected with the 
rebel Faction, the Committee Men met, and the Mob collected who 
flung Stones & broke the Windows & Shutters of the Room, endan- 
gering the Lives of the Company, who were obliged to break up, & 
were abused to their Homes. 

Soon after this, the Ladies diverted their selves by riding out of 
Town, but were followed & pelted by the Mob, & abused with the 
most indecent Language. 

The Honble. Israel Williams Esqr., who was appointed one of his 
Majesty's new Council, but had refused the Office by Reason of 
bodily Infirmities, was taken from his House, by a Mob, in the Night, 
& carried several Miles; then carried home again, after being forced 
to sign a Paper which they drafted; & a guard set over him to pre- 
vent his going from Home. 

156 3 

A Parish Clerk of an Episcopal Church at East Haddum in Con- 
necticut, a Man of 70 Years of Age, was taken out of his Bed in a Cold 
Night, & beat against his Hearth by Men who held him by his Arms 
& Legs. He was then laid across his Horse, without his Cloaths, & 
drove to a considerable Distance in that naked Condition. His 
Nephew Dr. Abner Beebe, a Physician, complained of the bad Usage 
of his Uncle, & spoke very freely in Favor of Government; for 
which he was assaulted by a Mob, stripped naked, & hot Pitch was 
poured upon him, which blistered his Skin. He was then carried to 
an Hog Sty & rubbed over with Hogs Dung. They threw the Hog's 
Dung in his Face, & rammed some of it down his Throat; & in that 
Condition exposed to a Company of Women. His House was at- 
tacked, his Windows broke, when one of his Children was sick, & a 
Child of his went into Distraction upon this Treatment. His Grist- 
mill was broke, & Persons prevented from grinding at it, & from 
having any Connections with him. 

All the foregoing Transactions were before the Battle of Lexing- 
ton, when the Rebels say that the War began. 


FOR THE Massachusetts-Gazette 


To the Soldiers of Massachusetts Bay who are now 
in Arms against the Laws of their Country. 1 


You have been addressed by the general officers of the continental 
army as -fellow soldiers, and with that insinuating art which was de- 
signed to move your passions: I would not draw your attention from 
it, provided you will devote your cooler moments to a dispassionate 
consideration of its subject matter. 

Suffer me on my part to address you as -fellow citizens, for I can- 
not have such dishonorable thoughts of you as to suppose that when 
you put on the soldier that you then put off the citizen; citizens most 
of you were, you enjoyed the comforts of domestic life, you lately 
followed your different occupations and reaped the profits of a 
quiet and peaceable industry, and \ hope in God that you may yet do 
it, without any disturbance to your innocent wives and children; 
but in the late courses of your lives, you must not only have given 
great uneasinesses to your families, but I dare to say, that all of you, 
were not quite free from uneasiness in your own minds. I know my 
dear countrymen! that many of you, have been drove to take up 
arms against your Sovereign, and the laws of the happiest constitu- 
tion that ever human beings were blest with; some through the ne- 
cessities incident to human nature, and others by that compulsion 
which the malevolent and ambitious arts of your leaders have made 
necessary to deceive you with, in order to screen themselves from 
that vengeance which the injured laws of society had devoted them 
to. Many a tear of pity have I dropped for you and for the fate of 
my country, and many more tears I fear that I shall be forced to shed 
for that wrath which awaits you from an offended Heaven, and an 

Boston Weekly News-Letter, Jan. n, 1776. 


injured government. Many of your associates have already quitted 
the field of battle, to appear before that solemn tribunal where the 
plea of the united force of all the colonies will be of no avail to bribe 
the judgment or avert the sentence of an offended Deity. Some of 
them, in the agonies of death, sent messages to their friends to for- 
bear proceeding any further, for they now found themselves in the 
wrong; others have repeatedly said, that an ambition of appearing 
something considerable and that only, led them into rebellion; and 
the unhappy leader, in the fatal action at Charlestown, (who from 
ambition only, had raised himself from a bare legged milk boy to a 
major general of an army) although the fatal ball gave him not a 
moment for reflection, yet had said in his life time, that he was deter- 
mined to mount over the heads of his coadjutors and get to the last 
round of the ladder or die in the attempt: Unhappy man! his fate 
arrested him in his career, and he can now tell whether pride and 
ambition are pillars strong enough to support the tottering fabric of 

But not to divert you from an attention to the address of your 
officers; I would rather wish you to weigh it with exactness, and 
after you have so done, if you then should think that it is better to 
trample upon the laws of the mildest government upon earth, and 
throw off your allegiance to the most humane Sovereign that ever 
swayed a sceptre, and submit to a tyranny uncontrouled either by the 
laws of Go d or man, then blame none but yourselves, if the conse- 
quences should be fatally bad to you and to your families. 

Your officers, my countrymen! have taken great pains to sooth 
and flatter you, that you may not quit your posts and forsake them 
until they have accomplished their ambitious and desperate schemes: 
Your leaders know that they have plunged themselves into the bow- 
els of the most wanton and unnatural rebellion that ever existed; they 
think that by engaging numbers to partake in their guilt that they 
shall appear formidable, and that by so numerous an appearance the 
hand of justice will not dare to arrest them. Some of you know that 
this argument hath been frequently urged; but you must know, that 
much superior powers than this continent can boast of, have been 
conquered by that government which you are now at war with. 

Your officers tell you, that they have reduced the regiments from 
thirty eight to twenty six, and assign as a reason, that many officers 
from a puny habit of body found themselves incapable of fulfilling 
the duty of their station, have been obliged to absent themselves from 
their posts, and consequently the duty has fallen very heavily upon 

those who remained: Whether this is a true reason or not, some of 
you can tell; be it so or not, why then not appoint others? are none 
of you fit for officers but those 'who absented themselves from their 
posts? You generally took up arms about the same time, and I dare 
to say that many of you were as well qualified for commissions as 
those who left their posts. 

Another reason they sooth you with for disbanding twelve regi- 
ments is, that the vast expence of attending the maintenance of so 
many regiments might have disabled the continent from persevering 
in its resolution of defending their liberties, if the contest should be of 
any continuance. Surely my countrymen! you cannot be deluded 
with such trifling pleas: Can this continent, which undertakes to 
carry on a war with the power of Great Britain, be alarmed at a few 
millions of dollars? Their resources are boundless; the issuing of 
paper money is easily accomplished, and while you can be compelled 
to take it, the continent can never be disabled from persevering in 
its resolutions. Unhappily for them, they have discovered to you 
what will be much for your Interest to know, viz That the vast 
expence of this civil war will be a burden too heavy for the shoulders 
of you or your posterity to bear: Consider, that already three mil- 
lions of dollars have been emitted in paper, and that 434,000 dollars, 
equal to 976 ooo O. T is assessed on the province of the Massachu- 
setts Bay, to redeem their part: and how much more must be raised 
to carry on this unnatural war, which was commenced to gratify 
the pride and desperation of many of your leaders, time alone will 
discover: You have just entred the lists, but there is much yet to be 
done; to finish the mighty independent empire, which they have 
planned for you, demands such resources as it will require one cen- 
tury to spunge away: Most of you have groaned under a tax of about 
2 or 300 ooo pounds old tenor, but when millions are thrown into 
the scale, they will press you down never to rise more. 

Your officers tell you; that men who are possessed of a vivacity of 
disposition, though brave and in all other respects unexceptionable, 
are totally unfit for service. This is a new doctrine advanced to make 
good officers and soldiers: It is a mystery, which I leave to that dull- 
ness and stupidity which your officers have complimented you with 
to unravel; the meaning of it you are best acquainted with, but it puts 
me in mind of what I have heard from the mouth of an arch traiter, 
who was disappointed in his expectations of the promotions of his 
near relation, viz. That the people were a set of d d stupid asses 
and were fit only to be drove. 

You are further told, that the present campaign is far from an hard 
one: How hard you have worked and how much duly you have 
done, you yourselves can tell best. Many, who have seen your la- 
bours, have thought them great; and I am much inclined to believe, 
that you have gone through some difficulty, especially when your 
officers, having forgot the popularity of this harangue, almost in the 
next breath tell you, that the post you at present occupy, njoas -fortified 
and secured by infinite labour. It is an old and just maxim, my coun- 
trymen! that deceivers ought to have good memories. 

You are next addressed, in the invariable stile for years past, of 
news papers and popular harangues, with the abuses of ministers and 
generals: this may keep up your spirits for ought I know: Town 
meeting oratory I know has frequently had this effect, 'till the spirit 
of it was evaporated, and then it flattened so as to be quite insipid. 
They boast much of the attachment of Nova Scotia and Canada, to 
what they call your interest, as well as of the rest of the continent. 
I give you one word of advice, and as it is from a book which it is 
said you are fighting for, so I suppose that you will not totally disre- 
gard it; it is this, let not him that putteth on the harness boast as he 
that putteth it off. But as to the success of union, which you have met 
with, the same book says, that rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft: It 
is so my countrymen! in a double sense; for in the first place, no 
person but one who was bewitched, would run the risk of engaging 
in a rebellion; and in the next place, which is the true meaning of the 
words; as witchcraft is renouncing the authority of God Almighty 
and applying to the devil, so rebellion is withdrawing allegiance 
from a lawful sovereign, overturning his government and laws, and 
joining with a power inimical to him. 2 

2 The same parallel of demon wizards bewitching the senses of the people was used in 
some popular poetry attributed to Jonathan Odell (The American Times: A Satire, In 
Three Parts [London, 1780], pp. 7-8) : 

What groupe of Wizards next salutes my eyes, 
United comrades, quadruple allies? 
Bostonian Cooper, with his Hancock join'd, 
Adams with Adams, one in heart and mind; 
Sprung from the soil, where witches swarm'd of yore, 
They come well-skill'd in necromantic lore; 
Intent on mischief, busily they toil, 
The magic cauldron to prepare and boil; 
Array' d in sable vests, and caps of fur, 
With wands of ebony the mess they stir; 
See! the smoke rises from the cursed drench, 
And poisons all the air with horrid stench. 

You are also told, that as the southern provinces have ever placed 
the greatest confidence in your zeal and valor j they did not think it 
necessary to raise any bodies in the other provinces -for this particular 
service. Do you believe my countrymen! that any of the Massachu- 
sett officers were concerned In drawing this address to you? If so, 
beware of them, before it is too late. I will not believe it: It surely 
must be drawn by some of your foreign officers, whom you have dis- 
graced yourselves by suffering them to command you, when you had 
men of your own province, who were at least equal to them and who 
would have more naturally cared for you: But you may have felt the 
ill consequence of it e'er now, and it may be too late for redress. The 
true English of it runs thus The Massachusetts have a different in- 
terest -from the rest of the continent; they are a sett of brave hardy 
dogs, and are always encroaching upon their neighbours, and ought 
to be humbled; and when we have established our independency, we 
shall have much to fear from them: Let us therefore make them the 
mercenaries, they will sacrifice every thing for money, we can pay 
them in paper which they are so fond of: By engaging them for sol- 
diers, they will get knocked in the head, their wives and children will 
be ruined; and when we have established our empire, we shall have 
nothing to fear from them; they will become an easy prey to the rest 
of the provinces, and we can parcel them out among us as we may 
think proper. 

The remainder of your officers address to you, I leave to your 
own remarks: It is so full of compliment and flattery, in order to 
reach your passions, that I cannot help blushing for you, and if you 
are caught by it I shall then pity you, and you will blush for your- 

That you may not plead ignorance, in justification of yourselves 
in case the fate of war should be against you, I will now let you into 
the origin and progress of the public disorders which for many years 
past have sickened the state of the province, and at last hath termi- 
nated in a most unnatural and ungrateful rebellion. I am persuaded, 
my countrymen! that you are ignorant of the true rise of your dis- 
orders; the aim of your leaders hath been to keep you in ignorance; 
they knew that your ignorance was their protection: Had you 
known their views, you would not only have spurned at the thought 
of overturning the constitution, but I venture to say that some of you 
would have dragged them to the bar of justice, there to have re- 
ceived that punishment which now awaits them, and I wish that you 
yourselves may not be involved in, as partakers in their crimes. 

The history runs thus, and every page of it is capable of ample proof. 

Know then, for many years past this province hath been deeply 
immersed in the smuggling business: Perhaps some of you are igno- 
rant tho' I am sure all of you are not, of the meaning of smuggling 
business: I will tell you what it means: it is an importation of goods, 
contrary to the laws of the society to 'which we belong; it is a de- 
frauding the King of those dues which the law hath granted to him; 
which fraud is equal in criminality to the injuring of a private per- 
son; it is a violation of the laws of Christianity; it is injuring and pub- 
lickly ruining our neighbour; in short, when it is thoroughly engaged 
in, it naturally tends by degrees to the effacing every sentiment of 
virtue. This is a description of the smuggling business, and it is here 
where I fix the sudden rise of the present rebellion. 

In order to evade those laws against unlawful trade, those who 
were concerned in it exerted themselves to defeat them. Unluckily 
for the government, at that juncture, a person, who had a long while 
been hunting after preferment, was disappointed of his game: On 
which a friend of his who was versed in the law, vowed revenge, he 
swore that he would set the province in a flame if he died in the at- 
tempt: He fulfilled his oath and burnt his fingers to such a degree 
that he hath irrevocably lost the use of them. Remember my coun- 
trymen! that there is one sort of flame, that consumes not only a 
man's property, but also a man's understanding, and ruins, very often 
his posterity also. This man's adroitness in law was thought neces- 
sary to be engaged in the cause of defeating acts of parliament: He 
was engaged, and he had shrewdness enough to start a thought, 
which, artfully pursued, hath generally its expected effect in all 
popular commotions; he said, that it was necessary to enlist a black 
regiment in their service; the bait was snapped at; and many minis- 
ters of the gospel, too, too many for the honor of the Christian reli- 
gion joined in the cry: The press then roared out its libels; the sacred 
desk, which ought to have been devoted to the doctrines and pre- 
cepts of the Prince of peace, rang its changes on government and 
sounded the trumpet of sedition and rebellion: Boys who had just 
thrown away their satchels and who could scarcely read English 
mounted the pulpit and ventured to decide on matters which had 
puzzled the sages of the law. Nay, they could not be contented to 
decide controversies of law, in their harangues to their audience, but 
must shew their parts in their solemn addresses to the Supreme Being, 
telling him who had been guilty of murder where the law had pro- 
nounced the supposed crime to be only self-defence, and some of 

them even debased the sacred character, by setting on the rabble In 
the public street, to insult a person who was obnoxious to the leaders 
of the mob. At the same time, a notorious defaulter who had pock- 
eted a large sum of the public monies, in order to screen himself, 
took it into his head to mouth it for patriotism; and by artful wiles 
and smooth demeanour he talked the people out of their understand- 
ings, and persuaded them to give him a discharge from the debt, on 
account of his patriotism. This man, whom but a day before hardly 
any one would have trusted with a shilling and whose honesty they 
were jealous of, now became the confidence of the people: With 
his oily tongue he duped a man whose brains were shallow and 
pockets deep, and ushered him to the public as a patriot too: He filled 
his head with importance and emptied his pockets, and as a reward 
hath kicked him up the ladder, where he now presides over the 
twelve united provinces, and where they both are at present plung- 
ing you, my countrymen, into the depths of distress. Libertinism, 
riot and robbery soon became the effects of this sort of public spirit; 
houses were plundered and demolished, persons were beat, abused, 
tarred and feathered; courts of justice were insulted; the pillars of 
government were destroyed; and no way to escape the torrent of 
savage barbarity but by paying obeisance to the sovereign man- 
dates of a mob. Garrets were crowded with patriots; mechanicks and 
lawyers, porters and clergymen huddled promiscuously into them; 
their decisions were oracular, and from thence they poured out their 
midnight reveries: They soon determined to form an independent 
empire; yes, my countrymen! I assure you that this independent em- 
pire, which you are now assisting those pretented patriots to erect, 
was formed above seven years ago, though I dare say, that most of 
you are ignorant of the black design: and one of the patriots (peace 
be to his manes} openly avowed it, and declared that a valuation had 
been taken of the estates in the town of Boston, which he supposed 
would be destroyed by the naval power of Great Britain, and that all 
the friends of licentiousness were to be reimbursed out of the estates 
of the friends to government. 

The patriots were determined to humble Great Britain; and, as a 
first step, they promoted a nonimportation agreement at the same 
time that the wealthy and artful among them had large quantities of 
goods by them by the advanced sale of which they made fortunes 
and ruined the small traders: They promised to send their new im- 
ported goods back to England, and instead thereof, their trunks were 
crowded with billets of wood shavings and brickbats, to the eternal 


disgrace of this province when they were opened in England. Some 
of the patriots carried about papers of subscription against importing 
goods from England, and washing women and porters, in order to 
swell the list, made their marks, for write they could not, that they 
would not import coaches or chariots from home: when they were 
told of the impropriety of such a conduct, and that the scheme would 
have no effect, they replied, that they were sensible of it, but Great 
Britain would be scared by it: they hired mercenaries in England to 
cabal and write for them and raise an insurrection: when they were 
told that Great Britain would be roused, they said that she was not to 
be dreaded; that she had neither men nor money; that there was more 
money in the Colonies than in England; that if she should resent it, 
that the Colonies would not pay them the millions that were due to 
her. Not content with this insult, the General Assembly disavowed 
any observance of Acts of Parliament. Great Britain, with her usual 
lenity, pitied our infatuation, tho' she was at last forced to send 
troops to support civil government; those troops we were then to 
destroy, and we did our best to destroy them; but felt the fatal con- 
sequence of the attempt: our violences at last rose to such an height, 
that injured sovereignty and an insulted government have been 
roused to assert their authority, in order to curb as wanton and 
wicked a rebellion as ever raged in any government upon earth. 

Thus, my countrymen! I have very shortly stated to you the rise 
and progress of the present rebellion. I believe that many, if not most 
of you, were insensible of the ambitious views of your leaders: I do 
not think that you were so devoid of virtue as to rush into so horrid 
a crime at one leap; for let me tell you, that it is the highest crime 
that a member of society can be guilty of, and the punishment an- 
nexed to it is nothing less than a forfeiture of estate and life: your 
leaders have deceived you into what they do not believe themselves: 
they were desperate themselves, and they have involv'd you in then- 
own just doom: they tell you your properties and religion are at 
stake: your ministers tell you so too; and I know you are too apt to 
take all that they say, for gospel; but pray, what danger is your reli- 
gion in? why, it is said that popery is established in Canada, and will 
be established here: no, my countrymen! popery is not established 
in Canada, let your teachers and leaders assert it never so roundly: 
it is only indulged to the Roman Catholicks there: your continental 
congress says, that Go d and nature have given them a right to the en- 
joyment of their religion: it is what they capitulated for with Gen- 
eral Amherst: it is what the just, the humane, King George the third 

confirmed to them: this is the King whom you so lately professed 
allegiance to, in opposition to the parliament; not considering that 
it was by acts of parliament that the crown was placed upon his head 
and on the heads of his predecessors: it seems indeed that your lead- 
ers have more lately found out that it is as necessary to deny the 
authority of the King as they have been daring in denying that of his 
Parliament; witness their late Thanksgiving Proclamation, which 
concludes with a God save the People, instead of the heretofore in- 
variable, Go d save the King. Will it not suffice your leaders to mock 
the King but they must mock Heaven also? read it over, view the 
cloven foot of one of your spiritual guides peeping out, whose pen 
fabricated the mockery, and whose foot has many a time trod the 
recesses of rebellion with the cabal; and I dare to say, that had it not 
been made to oblige you to pay duties upon various articles: be it 
this, once over happy, but now miserably distracted province had not 
been so soon involved in distress. 

I would ask also you my countrymen! how your properties are 
at stake? you will doubtless tell me, that acts of parliament have 
been made to oblige you to pay duties upon various articles: be it 
so; why then do you purchase articles that are to pay duties: why 
then do you not petition in a constitutional manner to have these 
acts repealed? the British parliament never assumed to themselves 
infallibility, and many a time have they repealed American acts when 
they have been convinced that the enforcement of them was incom- 
patible with the mutual interest: it is true, your leaders did petition, 
but in such an unconstitutional manner, that it was below the dignity 
and contrary to the system of the English government to hear such 
petitions; and this your leaders knew must be the fate of them, and 
this method they planned in order to effect their independence and 
make themselves of that importance to you which they now appear 
in. But you can have no just plea for entring so deeply into opposi- 
tion against the parent state: you may know, if you please, that King 
Charles the first granted to our ancestors a charter; you may call it 
a compact if you please too, and if it be so, the argument will be 
much against you, for in that you compacted to pay duties after a 
short term of years, and you have been fulfilling your compact, by 
paying duties, for above an hundred years past, till, of late, the scan- 
dalous smuggling business reared its front against the laws and 
brought the state into its present distraction You have been told also 
that your land was to be taxed and that you were to be brought into 
lordships; this I know hath been artfully propagated among you, 

and I dare assert It to be groundless: there is too much justice and 
benignity in the English government to advance such a scheme, and 
supposing that they had It In their idea to do it, so violent an opposi- 
tion ought to have been suspended at lest, 'till the scheme had been 
brought Into action: It Is like one man's cutting another's throat, lest 
the other might possibly injure his grand children. 

I am loth to detain you any longer, my countrymen! from sober 
reflection: for God's sake, for your own sakes, for your wives and 
childrens sake, pause a moment and weigh the event of this unnatu- 
ral civil war. You have roused the British Lion; you have incensed 
that power which hath crushed much greater powers than you can 
boast of, and hath done it without your aid too. Great Britain is not 
so distressed for men, or money as some would make you believe: 
Your conduct hath raised the resentment of the greatest powers In 
Europe,, and she may, If she pleases, accept of their proffered aid. 
But your priests and your leaders tell you otherwise; and I will just 
put the case, that supposing Heaven, in righteous judgment should 
suif er you to conquer: look forward then to the fatal consequences 
of your conquest: you will be conquered by an army of your own 
raising, and then your dreaded slavery is fixed; the ambition and 
desperation of your leaders will then demand the fruit of all their 
toils. Turn back a few pages of the English history; read the account 
of the civil wars of the last century; and view the triumphs and 
absolute sway of that tyrant Cromwell-, he, like some of your leaders, 
began with humoring the enthusiasm of the times, and ended, the 
parricide of his country. Let me suppose again, as you vainly imagine, 
that this will not be the case, and that when you have conquered, 
you will then beat all your swords Into plough shares; how long 
do you think it will be, before you are obliged to change sides, and 
beat your plough shares into swords again? you will then have 
twelve or fourteen colonies to form into an independent empire: 
where then is to be the seat of empire? surely the Massachusetts-Bay 
hath the best title to precedence; they begun the rebellion and they 
have the best tide to reward. Do you think that the other colonies 
cannot furnish as artful demagogues as this province can? do not 
imagine that we are the men and that wisdom is to die with us: we 
shall be cantoned out into petty states, we shall be involved in per- 
petual wars for an inch or two of ground: our fertile fields will be 
deluged with blood, our wives & children be involved in the horrid 
scene: foreign powers will step in and share in the plunder that re- 
mains, and those who are left to tell the story will be reduced to a 

more abject slavery than that which you now dread. The colonies 
are too jealous of each other to remain long In a state of friendship. 

I will now, my fellow citizens! change the scene to a more eligible 
view for your interest, and suppose it possible, tho' you don't think 
it so, that Great Britain can conquer you, and that instead of being 
victors you may be subjects again. You will then have the mildest 
government to live under, a government to be envied by the rest of 
mankind, and whose only unhappiness is, that it Is too apt to abuse 
that liberty which God and the constitution hath blessed it with. 
She hath been loth to call you conquer ed; she hath, like an over fond 
parent indulged your pevishness, and witheld her resentment until 
she hath felt the smart of her indulgence: she is now roused, but her 
resentment is tempered with mildness. He whom you formerly 
acknowledged for your Sovereign drops the tear of pity for you, 
in his late speech, from the throne, a speech so attempered with 
paternal pity, royal firmness of mind and sentiment of dignity, as 
distinguishes the speaker as the father of his country and the orna- 
ment of human nature: clemency he is distinguished for; he is re- 
vered for his humanity; but his soul is impressed with too much 
magnanimity, to suffer his laws and the rights of his subjects to be 
trampled under the foot of rebellion; he holds out the sceptre of 
mercy, that bright gem of his royal dignity, for you to embrace; 
but if you chuse to kiss the rod of his justice, be you yourselves wit- 
nesses that it is not his choice: remember, that Heaven punishes but 
to save: the God of Heaven hath repeatedly checked rebellion, and 
our own history confirms its defeats. Rebellion is so odious in the 
eyes of all rational beings, that it is for the universal good that it 
should be suppressed; it saps the foundation of moral virtue, and 
therefore it is for the general interest that all nature should rise In 
arms against it; and I have not the lest doubt, that providence will 
arrest it in its carreer. When that time comes, complain not that you 
were not forewarned, and bear your own punishment without mur- 

That you may seriously reflect on your own impending fate, and 
the fate of your wives and innocent children, before you take the 
deadly plunge, and that you immediately retire from the precipice 
of ruin, is the friendly wish of 

Your fellow Citizen. 



Adams, John, vii, viii, x, xiv, xix, 83-84, 
99; Works, 2872, 3672, 3772, 4372, 4872, 
9072, inn 

Adams, Samuel, xiii-xvi, 29, 39-45 pas- 
sim, 69, 74, 78, 83, 90, 96, 99-112 pas- 
sim, I2O-I2I, 127, 146, 149 

Addresses to England, Ireland, and Can- 
ada, 135, 136 

Aikin, Justice, 153 

Albany, N.Y., 133, 137, 139 

Allen, Ethan, 137-138 

Allen, James, xviii 

American Times, The, i6in 

Ames, William, 12 

Amherst, Jeffrey, Lord, 122, 133, 165 

Anderson, George, xvi, 5472 

Andros, Sir Edmund, 24 

Anne, queen of Great Britain, 6 

Apthorp, Charles, 11772 

Apthorp, Charles Ward, 117 

Army: British, xix, 54, 66, 70-72, 86, 90- 
93, 114-131 passim, 138-142, 152-153; 
American, 116, 118, 121, 123-125, 128- 
129, 131, 137-142, 147 

Arnold, Benedict, 137, 139 

Baldwin, Alice M., xvi, 4372 

Barnstable, Mass., 154 

Baxter, William T., 4072 

Beebe, Abner, 157 

Belcher, Jonathan, x, 2672 

Berkshire, Mass., 152 

Bernard, Francis, xiv-xv, xviii-xix, xx, 
25-29 passim, 49, 54, 57-58, 67-72 pas- 
sim, 83, 90, 97 

"BI*ck regiment;' 29, 41-45, 53, 63, 106, 

BlacKstone, William, 15-16 

Bollan, William, xix, 4772, 4972 

Boston, England, 21 

Boston, Mass.: besieged, xii, 119, 122- 
123, 127-131 passim, 140-143; customs, 
41, 42, 62-63, 70-71, 73, 97; press, 58, 
6272, 79, 96-97, 102, 105, 116; harbor, 
97, 102-103, 113, 133 

Boston Gazette, 1027? 

Boston Massacre, xi, xiv, xix, 66, 72, 87- 
93 95 

Boston Port Act, 103, 116 
Boston Tea Party, xv, 74, 100-102 
Boston Weekly News-Letter, xv, 372, 772, 

3172, 3372, 4172, 6972, 8572, 8972, 9872, 9972, 

12972, 15272, 15572, 158/2 
Boucher, Jonathan, viii, ix72 
Bowdoin, James, 66, 70, 90 
Brattle Street Church, Boston, 4472, 4572 
Breed Hill, Mass., 12972 
Bristol, Mass., 154 
British Riot Act, 95 
Browne, Robert, ir 
Brownists, 11-12 
Bunker Hill, Mass., 119, 123-130 passim, 

142, 159 

Burch, William, 6572, 9372 
Burgoyne, Sir John, 124 
Busby, Richard, 130 
Bute, John Stuart, earl of, 8172 

Calvinist party, 1172 

Cambridge, Mass., 29, 42, 83, 100, 127- 

128, 131, 139, 182 
Camden, Charles Pratt, earl of, 58 
Canada, 31, 34, 50, 94, 122, 133, 135-139, 

146-148, 161, 165 
Cape Breton, 31, 128, 146-147 
Carr, Colonel Maurice, 90 
Castle William, 54, 6972, 90-91, 10072, 102, 


Champlain, Lake, N.Y., 137 
Charles I, king of England, 13, 19, 21-22, 

1 66 

Charles II, king of England, 22-23 
Charles River, Mass., 124 
Charlestown, Mass., 119, 124, 12672, 159 
Chatham, Lord. See Pitt, William 
Chauncy, Charles, xiii, 43, 4472, 91, 96, 


Chevy Chase, battle of, 119 
Churchill, Charles, 82 
Church of England, xix, u, 15-19, 42, 

145, 154, 157 
Clarke, Jonathan, 10022 
Clarke, Richard, 10072 
Clergy. See Dissenting clergy 
Clinton, Sir Henry, 124 
Coddington, WTHliam, 18 

Colonial agent in England, 24, 47 
Commissioners of Customs, 65-66, 70, 

87, 91, 9372, 11772 

Committees of Correspondence, 74, 104 
Concord, Mass., 118, 153 
Congregational Church, xiii, 11-12. See 

also Dissenting clergy 
Connecticut, 15, 37, 81, 122, 154, 156-157 
Cooke, Elisha, 25-26 
Cooper, Samuel, xiv, xvi, 43-45 passim, 

74, 8r, 88, 94-97 passim, 116, 129, 135- 

137, 140, 146, 148, 165 
Copp's Hill, Mass., 124, 126 
Cotton, John, 21-22 
Court of Common Pleas, xi, 152, 153, 

154, 156 

Cromwell, Oliver, 22, 167 
Crown Point, expedition of 1755, 12972 
Currency, 31-32, 129, 146, 162 
Custom House Officers, xiv, 46-48, 52, 

6 1, 66, 69-70, 84-88, 91, 98, 117 

Dalrymple, Colonel William, 71-72, 90 

Declaration of Independence, 148 

Dickinson, John, viii 

Dissenting clergy, xiii, xiv, 10-22 passim, 
29, 42-45, 53, 56, 63-64, 74-75, 91-97 
passim, 102-107 passim, 121, 132, 145, 
148-149, 163-166. See also Congrega- 
tional Church 

Dixwell, John, 23 

Dorchester's Neck, Mass., 141 

Dry den, John, 38, 150, 15172; Absalom 
and Achitophelj 38, 150-151 

Dudley, Paul, 2772 

Dudley, Thomas, 16, 18 

Dulany, Daniel, 51 

Dunbar, Daniel (David), 155 

Dunbar, Jesse, 154 

East Haddum, Conn., 157 

East India Company, 100, 103, 113, 154 

Edes, Benjamin C., 10272 

Edes, Peter, 10272 

Edwards, Jonathan, 38 

Endecott, John, 20 

Eustatia, West Indies, 116 

Evelyn, Captain W G., 119-120 

Falmouth, Me., 138 
Faneuil Hall, Boston, 71 
Fines, Charles, 18 
First Church of Boston, 4372 

Fitch, Thomas, x 

Foster, Justice, 154 

Foster's Hill, Mass., 141-142 

Franklin, Benjamin, 31, 4572, 51, 78-82, 

96, 105, 149; Poor Richard, 79 
Franklin, William, 81 
French and Indian War. See Seven 

Years' War 
Frothingharn, Richard, 12672 

Gage, Thomas, xi-xii, xix, 114-125 pas- 
sim, 140 

Galloway, Joseph, viii-k, xx, 372 

Gaspee, 98-99 

George I, king of Great Britain, 24 

George III, king of Great Britain, 3, 68, 
135-136, 149, 159, 165-168 passim 

Gifford, Frank Dean, 4472, 4572 

Gilbert, Colonel, 152, 156 

Gipson, Lawrence H., viii, xvi, 9772 

Goffe, William, 23 

Grafton, Augustus Henry Fitzroy, duke 
of, 9372 

Great Britain: sympathizers with the co- 
lonial cause, xiv-xv, 51, 55, 58-59, 67, 
76-78, 95, 135, 148; ministry and the 
colonies, 21-26, 49-51, 58, 60, 67-70 
passim, 80, 113-114, 135, i45~H9 P as ~ 
sim; rebellion of 1641-1660, 22, 29, 
167; parliament, 55-61 passim, 67-68, 
77, 100-101, 106, 113, 135-136, 148, 153, 
163-166 passim 

Greene, Nathanael, 12272 

Gridley, Jeremiah, 36 

Gridley, Richard, 128-129 

Grievances, list of, 135, 136 

Guttridge, George H., 5672 

Halifax, George Dunk, Lord, 8172 
Halifax, Mass., 154, 155 
Halifax, N.S., 70, 88, 143 
Hallowell, Benjamin, 5272, 6972 
Hampshire County, Mass., 28, 37 
Hancock, John, xii-xvi passim, 2872, 40- 

43 passim, 69-70, 88, 96, 102, 120, 127 
Hancock, Thomas, 2872 
Hardwicke, Mass., 153, 155 
Harvard University, x, 29, 36, 39-40, 42, 

44, 83, 128 

HaverhiU, N.H., 5472 
Hawley, Joseph, xii-xv passim, 28-29, 

37-39, 49i 9<5, 99, " 
Hebron, Conn., 154 

Hillsborough, Wills Hill, earl of, 67-68 
History of the Civil War in America, 

Hobbes, Thomas, 6n 

Holland, 11-12, 60-61, 101, 116, 138 

Howe, Sir William, 124-126, 130-131, 

Hudson, Henry, 13 

Hulton, Henry, 6572, 9372 

Hutchinson, Sara, xi 

Hutchinson, Thomas, xi-xx passim, 2272, 
25, 2672, 2772, 28, 29-35, 37* 44i 4^-53 
passim, 66, 81-83, 90-101 passim, 112, 
114, 136, 143^2, 14672, 152; History of 
. . . Massachusetts-Bay, viii, ixn, i6n, 
2872, 30, 8472 

Indians, 5, 120, 133, 146 

Ireland, 135, 140 

Irwine, Mr. (customs inspector) , 6972 

James I, king of England, 12 
James II, king of England, 24, 113 
Jefferson, Thomas, vii, viii, x 
Johnson, Isaac, 18 
Judges' salary dispute, 107-111 

Kames, Henry Home, Lord, 38 
Kennebec River, Me., 137, 139 
Knox, Henry, 129 

Labradore coast, 75 

Laud, William, 15, 21 

Lee, Arthur, 78 

Lee, Colonel, 120 

Leonard, Daniel, viii, ix72, 152 

Lexington, Mass., 4372, 118, 119, 12772 

Lexington and Concord, battle of, 118- 

121,123, ^o* 133 
Liberty, 69 
Liberty, theories of, xix, 3-9, 65, 75, 88- 

89, 94, 99, 105, 113, 136, 145, 159, 166, 

1 68 

Liberty polls, 154 
Liberty tree, xvii, 53-54, 112 
Lincolnshire, England, 1 1 
Lind, John, 136 
Livingston, Robert R., 13872 
Locke, John, 672; Lockian concept of 

government, xix, 672, 40 
London, England, 13572, 149 

Louisburg, expedition of 1745, 31-32, 

128, 12972, 146-147 
Loyalists, vii-viii, xii, xvii, xx, 66, 97, 104, 

115, 123, 131-132, 143-144, 147-14$, 

152-157. See also Tories 

McClary, Colonel, 126 

Mackintosh, Ebenezer, xvi, 54-55 

Malcolm, John, 98 

Manufactory House, Boston, 7 172 

Marblehead, Mass., 120 

Mary II, queen of England, 24 

Maryland, 137 

Masaniello, 54, 128 

Massachusetts: justice, xiv, 84-99 passim, 
107, 114, 1 1 8, 152-153; press, xiv, 105- 
106, 163; lower classes, xvi-xvii, 27, 31, 
33, 41-42, 62, 65, 85-86, 89, 96, 164-165; 
charter of 1630, 13-14, 21, 23, 99, 113, 
145, 1 66; laws on religion, 19, 21; leg- 
islature, 19-20, 30-31, 48, 51, 67, 100, 
107, 115, 133, 165; blue laws, 21; bar, 
27-29, 36-37, 83-84, 153; customs, 30, 
78, 83, 85, 95, 114; paper currency, 31- 
32, 129, 146, 162; convention of 1768, 
68; juries, 85-87, 91, 114 

Massachusetts Council, xi, xiv, 30, 35, 
42, 57, 67, 70, 90, 93, 97, 113, 115 

Massachusetts Court of Common Pleas, 

xi, 152, 153, 154. J 5<$ 

Massachusetts House of Representa- 
tives, xi, xiii, 24, 25, 27, 29-30, 48, 53, 
57-58, 67-68, 81, 84, 93-100 passim, 
108-115 passim, 133, 152 

Massachusetts Mandamus Council, xii, 
154, 156 

Massachusetts Superior Court of Judi- 
cature, x, xi, xiii, 27-28, 33, 3672, 37, 
83-98 passim, 107-111, 117, 152 

Massachusetts Vice-Admiralty Court, 

Mather, Increase, 24 

Mayhew, Jonathan, xiii, 43-44, 53 

Mein, John, 62 

Middleborough, Mass., x-xi, 153 

Middlesex, Mass., 153 

Miller, John C., xvi 

Milton, John, 36, 93 

Mobs: Boston, xiv, xix, 24, 31-32, 44, 50- 
55, 61-62, 67-74 passim, 84-90, 95-102 
passim, 111-112, 115-116, 121, 143-144; 
outside Boston, 152-157 passim 

Molasses duties, 47, 4872 

Molineux, William, 1 17 
Montcalm, Louis Joseph, marquis de, 


Montgomery, Janet (Livingston), 13872 
Montgomery, Richard, 137-139 
Montreal, Canada, 137, 139 
Morgan, Edmund S., vii, 2572 
Moses, Judicials of, 2 1 

Navy: British, 102, 124, 125, 139-141; 

American, 140 
Negroes, 89 

New England settlement, 15 
New Hampshire, 1 16 
New Haven, Conn., 137 
New Jersey, 81,98 
New York, 13, 31,96,98, 116, 138 
New York, N.Y., 117 
Newbury Port, R.I., 139 
Newburyport, Mass., 140 
Newport, R.I., 98 
Newton, Isaac, 7 
Nonimportation of British goods, xiv, 

61-66, 72-74, 77, 104, 116, 164-165 
North, Frederick, Lord, 113-114 
Northampton, Mass., 23, 38 
Norwich, Conn., 137 
Nova Scotia, 34, 153, 161 

Odell, Jonathan, 79, 8072, i6in 

Old North Church, Boston, 4372 

Old South Church, Boston, 10222 

Oliver, Andrew, x, xi, xiv, xvii, xix, 1 1 1- 
112, 14072 

Oliver, Daniel, x 

Oliver, Elizabeth, x 

Oliver, Mary Clarke, xi 

Oliver, Mary Sanford, x 

Oliver, Peter, 6672, 14072, 14372; revolu- 
tion's effect on, ix, xvii; as historian, 
ix-x, xii-xx, 9-10, 10372, 11472, 144; life 
and career, x-xii; and Boston Tea 
Party, 10072; and judges' salary dis- 
pute, 107-111; Andrew's death, in- 

Oliver, Thomas, 140, 153 

Oswald, Richard, 4872 

Otis, James, Jr., xii-xix passim, 772, 27-28, 
29, 33, 35-37* 4i-4 2 , 4-53 passim, 58, 
63, 67, 83-84, 106, 1 10, 112, 128, 149, 
163; Otis' party, xiv, xvii, xviii, 49, 51- 
52, 54, 57, H5, H7 

Otis, James, Sr., xiii, xvi-xix passim, 27, 
28, 48 

Paper currency, 31-32, 129, 146, 162 

Parker, John, 127 

Paxton, Charles, 6572 

Pepperell, Sir William, 155 

Percy, Earl Hugh, 1 18-1 19 

Peter, Hugh, 19 

Peters, Samuel, 153 

Philadelphia, Pa., 79, 105 

Philip (Indian Icing), 133 

Phillips, George, 18 

Phips, Colonel, 153 

Pitt, William, xiv, xv, xix, 51, 55, 58-59 

Plato, 5, 672, 3572 

Plymouth, Mass., xi, 154, 155, 156 

Plymouth Company, 14-21 

Plymouth County, Mass., 154 

Point Levy (Levis), Canada, 139 

Pomfret, Conn., 122 

Pope, Alexander, An Essay on Man, 7 

Post Office Act, 59 

Pownall, John, 7772 

Pownall, Thomas, xiii, xvii, xviii, xx, 77 

Press, xiv, 58, 6272, 79, 96-97, 102, 105- 

106, 116, 163 
Preston, Captain Robert, 72, 87, 89-91, 

Putnam, Israel, xx, 121-123, 126-127 

Quartering act, 71-72 
Quebec, Canada, 116, 137, 139 

Ramsay, David, 5472, 5572, 6972, 9072, 10372 

Ray, James, 38 

Regicides, 1972, 23, 15072 

Religious dissent. See Dissenting clergy 

Republicanism, 49, 76, 84, 99, 135, 138, 

Revolution: an unnatural event, ix, 3, 
145-146, 159, 1 6 1, 162, 167-168; legiti- 
macy of, xix, 3, 6 

Rhode Island, xi, 15, 4872, 79, 98, 12272, 

Richardson, Ebenezer, 84-87 

Robinson, John (Brownist minister) , 


Robinson, John (commissioner of cus- 
toms), 6572 

Rockingham, Charles Watson- Went- 
worth, marquis of, 67 

Roman Catholic Church, 10-11, 15, 18, 

Romney, 6971, 70 
Rowe, John, 28, 11277, 7-1772 
Ruggies, Timothy, 152-153 

Sabine, Lorenzo, viii 

Salem, Mass., 1 6, 19, 94, 113, 115, 140 

Salstonstall, Richard, 18 

Saratoga Convention, 134 

Scalping, 120, 129, 132-134 

Schlesinger, Arthur M., xvi, 4872, 5372, 
5472, 6272, 6372, 10372 

Schuyler, John, 137, 139 

Scotland, 104 

Scott, Ezekiel, 129-130 

Seabury, Samuel, Letters of a Westches- 
ter Farmer y viii, ixn 

Seven Years' War, xix, 50, 122, 12972, 
138^2, 146-148, 15372 

Sewall, Jonathan, 15272 

Sewall, Stephen, 27, 44, 152 

Sharp, James, Archbishop, 672-772 

Shelburne, William Petty, Lord, 67 

Shipton, Clifford K., xvi, xxi 

Shirley, William, xiii, xvii, xviii, 2672, 2772, 

Shute, Samuel, 24, 26 

Sidney, Algernon, 15072 

Sirnsbury Mines, Conn., 156 

Smithfield, England, 135, 136 

Smuggling, xiv, 46-48, 52, 60, 6 1, 65, 69- 
70, 74, 84, 101-102, 116, 163, 166 

Snyder, Christopher, 84 

Sons of Liberty, 7772, 1 1772 

Springfield, Mass., 156 

Staff ord, England, 117 

Stamp Act, xiv, xix, 31, 4572, 49, 50-61 
passim, 65, 76, 81, 1 12 

Stedman, Charles, 12572 

Stockbridge, Mass., 134 

Story, William, 52 

Suffolk, England, 1672 

Suffolk County, Mass., 33-34 

Suffolk Resolves, 1 1 6, 118 

Sullivan, General John, 116 

Superior Court of Judicature. See Mas- 
sachusetts Superior Court of Judica- 

Tarring and feathering, xiv-xv, 68, 93-98 
passim, 105, 109, in, 131, 143, 152, 157, 

Taunton, Mass., 152-153 

Taxation, xix, 7-8, 13, 50, 59, 67, 100, 106, 

120, 146, 1 60, 1 66 
Tea, xiv, 60-61, 73-75, 84, 100-104, JI 3- 

See also Boston Tea Party 
Temple, John, 6572, 66, 70, 87, 91 
Ticonderoga, Fort, N.Y., 131, 138 
Tories, vii-xvii passim, 104, 131, 143. See 

also Loyalists 
Townshend, Charles, 107 
Townshend duties, xiv, 60-6 1, 74 
Trumbull, Jonathan, 154 

Vassall, William, 154 
Vaudreuil-Cavagnal, Pierre Francois de 

Rigaud, marquis de, 146 
Vermont, 138 

Vice-Admiralty Court, 52, 98 
Virginia, 22, 99, 139 
Virginia Company, 1 2 
Voting, theory and practice, 7, 8 

Warfare, Indian, 120, 132-134, 143 
Warren, Joseph, xii, 4572, 126, 128, 148, 


Warren, Mercy Otis, 128 
Washington, George, 123, 128, 129, 131- 

West Church, Boston, 4372 
West Indies, 22, 47, 61, 13772, 138 
Whalley, Edward, 23 
Wharton, Thomas, marquis of, 6, 772, 

1 06 

Wilkes, John, 77-78, 136 
William III, king of England, 24 
Williams, Israel, 156 
Williams, Roger, 20 
Windsor Castle, England, 136 
Winthrop, John, 16, 18 
Witchcraft and rebellion, 161 
Wolverhampton, England, 117 
Women, 62-64, 71-74 passim, 97-98 
Wood, Silas, 153 
Worcester, Mass., 83, 153 

Yale University, 37 
York County, Me., 155 
Yorktown, battle of, ix 


( continued fro?// froti' ;* > 

read, l to public service, 

he \\ ^ nonethelc^. Doable of mov- 
ing with u. shifting po* *l complex 
and was driven from position and 
property to retirement in England. 
There his pen pointed with ironical 
humor and supported with learned 
references to Adilton, Dryden, and 
Butler he wrote a spirited account of 
the transition from the good of order to 
the evil of revolution. If history has 
given the lie to Oliver's question, "why 
is the sudden Transition made, from 
Obedience to Rebellion, but to gmtifyc 
the Pride, Ambition & Resentment, of 
a few abandoned Demagogues, \vhu 
were lost to all Sense of Shame & of 
Humanity" it has equally demon- 
strated that the acuteness of his percep- 
tions illuminates our understanding of 
the human conflict in the American 

Douglass Adair is professor of his- 
tory at the Claremont Graduate School 
and former editor of the William and 
Mary Qziarterly. John A.^Schutz is pro- 
fessor of history and political science at 
\Vhittier College and the author of 
biographies of Massachusetts governors 
Thomas Pownall and William Shirley. 

Himtington Library Publications 
San Aiarino, California 


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